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By Rhizome

The popularity of narrative video work owes much to its historical relationship to experimental film, but installed in a gallery on mounted screens or projected on the wall, the medium begins to have more in common with painting than cinema. This kinship bears out in much of the work in 'Animated Painting,' a straightforwardly titled exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art, which runs through January 13. A greatest-hits of recent work--most from the last five years--that incorporates traditional illustration and painting techniques, the show features the Barnstormers, Sadie Benning, Jeremy Blake, Serge Onnen, and others, crossing paper and canvas approaches with the conventions of small-screen animation. Some are literally grounded in handmade images. William Kentridge's 2003-04 'Tide Table' turns sketches into an animated film, subsequently transferred to video and screened on a monitor, telling the story of a white industrialist wandering through social realities of South Africa, and Robin Rhode's 'Harvest' shows the artist watering a stand of illuminated lines growing in stop motion. Others take up the painterly attributes of digital media. Takeshi Murata's 'Untitled (Pink Dot)' from 2006 samples footage from 'Rambo, First Blood,' twisting violent moments into pixilated spasms and melting images—all while a hypnotic pink pupil dilates in the foreground. Several works in the show can be previewed in a television-spot-style montage on the museum's Web site, but perhaps realizing that the installation as much as the processes underpinning the work ties video to other media not bound to the theater, the SDMA has enlisted Wit Pimkanchanapong, who also contributes work to the show, to design the exhibition space. - William Hanley

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