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.

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)


Fruitcake, super 8mm, 3min, 2000
November 11, 2009, 8:59 pm
Filed under: films, Fruitcake

santa copy

Fruitcake is a cut-out animation originally shot on kodachrome super8 film. Utopian scenes of Christmas and household domesticity from 50’s, 60’s and 70’s magazines were clipped, shattered and animated to reveal the structures beneath the facade of liquor-laden fruitcake making bliss. Kris-Kringle is a degenerate and creepy dolls come to life to trick-or-treat. A distorted music-box sound track provides an off-kilter accompaniment to this well-aged dysfunctional mini-melodrama. 2000 (click on image for excerpt)

Poor White Trash Girl: Class Consciousness, 16mm, 6min, 2003
November 11, 2009, 8:51 pm
Filed under: films, Poor White Trash Girl


Poor White Trash Girl: Class Consciousness, is a semi-autobiographical fictional animation, based on the life of a poor white girl who lives amidst Fisherprice Little People.  In this episode, Class Consciousness, we observe poor white trash girl making sense of her middle class neighbor’s life and the jealous rage that results from the recognition of inequity. 2003 (click on image to view a YouTube excerpt)

Keep Up With Medicine, super 8mm, 3min, 2001
November 11, 2009, 10:09 am
Filed under: films, Keep Up With Medicine

Medicine 3

Keep Up With Medicine is a super8 animation, shot using vintage advertising images cut from magazines. Getting shots, popping pills, and curing ills are practices examined and put under the micro lens of my super8 camera. The results of this medical exam are alternative routes to health and well being. 2001 (click on image to see a short YouTube excerpt)


Fish Under Delancey, 16mm, 26min, 2006
November 11, 2009, 10:02 am
Filed under: films, Fish Under Delancey


Traveling from Flushing to Manhattan via the subway, as well as throughout NYC, I became entranced by the tile murals that line many subway platforms. The tunneling of the subways through bedrock and beneath the city, the people who ride the subway, the sound of a screeching train, and the slogan, “If you see something, say something” inspired this stop-motion, eavesdropping, dreamlike journey film. The film also follows the poet and writer Eileen Myles on parts of the journey. 2006 (click on image to view YouTube excerpt)