Kelly Spivey

The Liberation of Helene Aylon (excerpt), video, 25:25min. 2015
January 23, 2018, 6:06 pm
Filed under: films, The Liberation of Helène Aylon

Libertaion of Helene Aylon Still1

This intimate film portrait explores how one Jewish Orthodox woman became a contemporary feminist artist. Aylon’s life literally transforms, due to several factors not the least of which was the feminist movement of the seventies. Still an active artist today at 83, Helène Aylon was raised in Borough Park Brooklyn, a conservative Orthodox Jewish community. Aylon was engaged to a rabbi at age 17 and didn’t venture towards becoming an artist until her forties. In 1982, Alyon organized women to travel cross-country to “rescue” earth from nuclear testing sites. In another ambitious installation, Aylon attempts to liberate G-d.

Helène Aylon is a living artist who is often overlooked by the larger art world even though her work has garnered some attention from feminist art critics, Jewish scholars, museums curators, and environmentalists. Her work gained some critical notice in the nineties due to the increasing awareness of an emerging public art movement that was politically challenging and strove to move outside the studio and gallery to engage with a larger public audience. Artist and critic Suzanne Lacy and prominent critic Lucy Lippard have written extensively about the role of public art within the larger contexts of burgeoning and otherwise critically ignored movements of conceptual, activist, and public performance. Their critical attention laid much of the groundwork for an appreciation for the kind of projects that Aylon pursued. Aylon’s work incorporates everything from process painting, performance art, collaborative public art, installation to video art. There is a need to better understand her work and her role as an artist, especially in terms of feminist art during the eighties. The film “The Liberation of Helène Aylon” brings attention to Aylon’s life and work so that the next generation of women artists and others may learn about the work of this earlier feminist artist.


Make Them Jump (excerpt), 16mm, 11min. 2010
January 24, 2010, 5:50 pm
Filed under: films, Make Them Jump

Make Them Jump

2009, 16mm, 11min. Optically printed from found footage of animals with children, with subliminal messages… an experimental film that uses snippets from discarded educational films including a bullfrog-jumping contest, a story of a child in a Harlem project who finds an abandoned duck, and a girl whose best friend is a cow. Repetition, time and sound manipulation, and not least of all – humor, all reside within the film frames of this project. Inspired by the Rachel Carson quote: “It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility,” the film digs frame-by-re-photographed-frame for the underlying, yet now tenuous beauty in nature and our awkward, yet increasingly poignant relationship with animals.

Mom, 22 x 30, tempura, 2008
November 11, 2009, 9:23 pm
Filed under: paintings


Mom and me, 22 x 30, tempura, 2008
November 11, 2009, 9:20 pm
Filed under: paintings


Mom, 22 x 30, tempura, 2008
November 11, 2009, 9:16 pm
Filed under: paintings


Stef, 22 x 30, tempura, 2008
November 11, 2009, 9:09 pm
Filed under: paintings


Trying.. super 8mm, 10 min, 2004
November 11, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: films, Trying to get to...

Trying still 6

Trying to get to the heart of the matter…
through contrast.
a personal documentary

This film edits together super 8mm home movies I shot over several years with some footage of Times Square in NYC in 2004. Some of the film was handprocessed. Sound effects are added to connect the dots. Contrast is the theme: contrast in light, contrast in allure, contrast in worship, contrast in value… 2004 (click on image to view a YouTube excerpt)