Cynthia Maughan produced nearly 300 direct-camera performances in a prolific period from 1973 through the 1980s. Maughan, a contemporary of artists such as
Paul McCarthy and
William Wegman, drew inspiration from their work as well as from her eclectic upbringing in Los Angeles' all-pervasive media culture. Absorbing Hollywood's beguiling superficiality, Maughan's performances treat the closed-circuit camera as a two-way mirror, in which and for which she prepares her public persona. Maughan's rarely-screened videos use and call attention to the tropes of television, horror films, B-movies, and lifestyle magazines, tackling issues of domesticity, hygiene, and gender roles with a dry wit and an iconoclastic sensibility.
Maughan's first exposure to video art was a screening of William Wegman's droll performances for camera while she was in graduate school at California State University, Long Beach. Her work shows the clear influence of such Wegman videos as Pocketbook Man (1970-71), as well as Paul McCarthy's oblique early black-and-white performance tapes and Ernie Kovacs' irrational sight gags for television. After acquiring a hand-me-down video camera, Maughan extended her practice in painting and drawing to embrace what she saw as the "limitless possibilities" offered by the proximity of video technology. Maughan's experimental narratives and performance-driven scenarios were realized in a home studio in Pasadena, where she applied the syntax of television and film production on a deliberately intimate scale to convey the Los Angeles video art, feminist, and punk scenes of the late 1970s that were her millieu.
Cynthia Maughan: Holidays in the Sun will feature works by Maughan alongside early videos by Wegman and McCarthy, as well as a reading from Trailer Life magazine, the basis for Maughan's series of the same title.
Maughan's works are now available through EAI's Distribution Program. For information about her videos, please click here.
Cynthia Maughan was born in 1949 in Bell, California. She received her MFA from California State University, Long Beach in 1974. Her work has been shown in Documenta 6, Kassel, Germany, and in screenings and exhibitions at De Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Long Beach Museum of Art, CA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Berkeley Art Center, CA; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA; ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn, NY; and the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
This program is part of an ongoing series of events and projects marking EAI's 40th anniversary year. For more information about upcoming programs in this series, please click here.
About Migrating Forms
An annual, ten-day festival dedicated to new film and video, Migrating Forms developed from the New York Underground Film Festival (NYUFF), which ended in April 2008. Led by the former directors and programmers of NYUFF, Migrating Forms continues the tradition of presenting a program culled from a broad spectrum of moving image practices each Spring at New York's historic Anthology Film Archives.
EAI: Celebrating 40 Years
Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world's leading nonprofit resources for video art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution and preservation of video art and digital art. EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media works by artists. EAI's activities include viewing access, educational services, extensive online resources, and public programs such as artists' talks, exhibitions and panels. The Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and also features extensive materials on exhibiting, collecting and preserving media art:
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