ABOVE: CELIA ROWLSON-HALL. IMAGE COURTESY OF JODY ROGAC
As the face of Banana Republic’s 2010 campaign, a Bessie award-winning performer, and a festival-darling filmmaker, Celia Rowlson-Hall is a superstar of balancing acts. She adeptly handles the camera, stage, drawing pad, and runway with a distinguishable effervescence, even when she isn’t in the spotlight. This year, she has no plans to slow down, with two film shorts showing SXSW and production beginning on her first feature-length film.
The 28-year-old started making films four years ago and stars in most of her jazzy yet confessional works. From pop culture-infused chronicles like THE HONEYMOON, a series of solo single-shot videos in motel rooms across the country, to vivacious feats like The Audition, a 2013 SXSW-bound love letter to the entertainment industry, the New York-based director’s performance style is undeniably charming. Carefully blending melancholy and pep, the sweeping or static lens reveals myriad emotive inner worlds. She’s also lent her talents to fashion and music collaborators, choreographing music videos for MGMT and Sondre Lerche and fashion shorts for Jason Wu and Aritzia, among others.
This week marks Rowlson-Hall’s first solo exhibition at the independent curator hub Schoolhouse Projects: Our Relationship is Extinct!, a one-night-only show that will feature her business-card-sized punny drawings, the premiere of her short film, Olive Juice, and sets of hand-drawn limited edition postcards. Olive Juice, a film enacting ideas from her drawings, “goes through the beginning, middle and end of a relationship in odd ways. The actors throw cabbage and dance with mayonnaise.”
Appropriately falling on Valentine’s Day, Our Relationship is Extinct!, curated by Gabriela Alva of Eyelevel BQE, is dedicated to “the oddities of love,” and will feature live accompaniment by synth-pop musician Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone. Rowlson-Hall offers a succinct description for her cinematic and print pieces, a quirky amalgamation of love signifiers: it is, she explains, “the anti-Hallmark.”