When I first watched The Monolith, I was completely amazed. Speechless, really. The 10-minute documentary is a film by Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. (The Woman Who Wasn’t There) and it documents New York City artist Gwyneth Leech’s art series of The Monolith— a large city building which was built right in front of her art studio.
“And then I open the door to this space and it’s just magical,” Gwyneth says of her art studio in Midtown Manhattan. And then all of a sudden the scene shifts to the artist’s view of what she sees when she looks out the window of her art studio.
In the beginning of the film, Gwyneth describes her view of Midtown Manhattan when she looks out of her art studio window:
“Looking out on this incredible panorama of Midtown Manhattan. With spires rising into the kind of triangular composition, parts of these buildings were reflected in other buildings and the clouds coming across it was different every single day and through the year. So the light as moved through the seasons, would hit the buildings in different ways so the shadows would change daily.
And that sky. It kind of transcended the confines of the city. It always was full of fresh possibilty.”
As Gwyneth is describing her view of the city, the scene shifts to her beautiful paintings of the Manhattan cityscape. I felt as if I was transported into Gwyneth’s paintings and I could see exactly what she sees when she looks out of her art studio window.
I found Gwyneth’s art absolutely beautiful. The way she paints the city landscapes and city scenes is just amazing. Her use of colors in her paintings make the images look very realistic. I also love how she used coffee cups as canvases for capturing the bustling city life of New York City. Gwyneth’s coffee cup art is also detailed in the short film.
“One day, I just picked up my coffee cup, cause I’d run out of paper, and I started to draw. It became part of my ritual to the studio to bribe myself with a cup of coffee. And then when I’d get here, I would draw on it. Over time I had hundreds of these cups and started to exhibit them as installations in increasingly large numbers. And it just took off and went from there!” — Gwyneth Leech on her coffee cup art
Angelo J. Guglielmo’s 10-Minute Documentary is Brilliant!
Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. truly created an enchanting film. I’m telling you — it’s such a fascinating experience to watch. Angelo’s ability to creatively capture Gwyneth’s story and turn it into a powerful film in just TEN MINUTES is brilliant! Bravo, Angelo!
I couldn’t take my eyes off of the screen the entire time I was watching The Monolith. The entire film centers around Gwyneth describing the creation and formation of the monolith building outside of her art studio. All the while, the scenes of the construction of the building is depicted in Gwyneth’s art and displayed on her art studio window.
In the film, Gwyneth also shares a very personal aspect of her life— the passing of her parents and sister. I could feel Gwyneth’s pain as she talked about losing her parents and her sister. The emotions are also very evident through Gwyneth’s artwork presented in the film.
On describing her feelings of losing her parents and sister, Gwyneth compares death to a monolith:
“A death is like a monolith that can’t be shifted. It’s not going to go away.”
Honestly, I don’t think I can even fully put into words just how beautiful and powerful Angelo’s film is. You have to watch The Monolith!
The Monolith Selected as Staff Pick on Vimeo
The Monolith debuted on Monday, November 27, 2017, exclusively on Vimeo. The film was selected as a “Staff Pick”– a recognition only granted to a small fraction of the works on the Vimeo platform.
The Monolith simultaneously went live on ShortOfTheWeek.com, another prestigious independent film platform.
Here is the description of the short film:
“Pioneering Manhattan artist Gwyneth Leech walks into her midtown studio and discovers that her inspiring skyline view will soon be blocked by the construction of yet another monolithic high-rise building. In a series of visually-arresting scenes from his latest film, THE MONOLITH, Director Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. (The Woman Who Wasn’t There) takes the viewer on a riveting journey that paints a powerful, full-scale portrait of the artist and her process…in just ten minutes.
Captivating in-studio interviews are intercut with the design of Leech’s famous paintings on coffee cups, her emerging obsession with the construction process outside her window, and the stirring realization that art and life are a constant series of obstacles we must navigate, explore and, ultimately, use to transform our ever-evolving perspective.”
Andrea Smith is the executive producer of The Monolith and Rosie Walunas is the editor of the documentary. Rosie used the Adobe Creative Suite to bring over 200 pieces of Gwyneth’s beautiful artwork to life using Animation, Motion Graphics, Compositing and a host of other cutting-edge effects.
If you have ten minutes to spare, click here to watch this moving film.
About the Artist Gwyneth Leech
Gwyneth Leech has exhibited her work across the United States and the UK in museums, commercial galleries, public art spaces, and alternative venues. “I have been engrossed in the rapid physical changes occurring in midtown Manhattan for the past several years,” states Leech. From painting construction sites to drawing on paper coffee cups to making family portraits in oils, my inspiration is my immediate physical and cultural
environment in New York City.”
For additional information about Gwyneth Leech, please visit http://gwynethleech.com.
About the Director Angelo Guglielmo, Jr.
Angelo Guglielmo directed The Woman Who Wasn’t There— an Emmy nominated documentary produced by Meredith Vieira, Amy Rapp, and Academy-Award winner Ross Kauffman. The film broke rating records on Investigation Discovery. He also co-authored the Simon and Schuster book of the same name. Guglielmo is the founder of 4235 Productions, which has also produced the films, The Heart of Steel and Idling Brando.
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Feature image courtesy of 4235 PRODUCTIONS, INC.