Segments in this Video

Artistic Style (02:22)


About her artistic style Anna Campbell Bliss says that she seeks to make connections between poetry and mathematics, and between nature and a constructed environment. Viewers see a selection of her work.

Husband/Artistic Collaborator (01:43)

Anna Campbell Bliss and her husband Robert have maintained a strong collaborative relationship in art and in life. A filmmaker recalls meeting Anna for the first time.

Early Years of Anna Campbell (01:57)

Early influences in Anna's life include a vast and verdant garden, a soldier of fortune uncle, an isolated upbringing, and her and her siblings' active imaginations. We see later works that were inspired by the garden and its light.

College (02:45)

It was in the basement stacks of a local library that Anna first discovered books on the Bauhaus and the modern movement in art. She showed a propensity for math. She attended Wellesley College where she discovered art and art history.

Graduate School/Bauhaus (02:16)

Anna graduated from Wellesley in 1946 and enrolled in the master's degree program in design at Harvard. We learn about the Bauhaus movement from an architecture professor. Robert Bliss was heavily influenced by this movement in his graduate school.

Bauhaus Designers (01:45)

Robert Bliss was heavily influenced by Bauhaus artists and designers at Black Mountain College. Bliss recalls his days there and especially his connection to Josef Albers.

Exposure to the Modern Movement in Art (03:38)

When Anna Campbell attended Harvard School of Design, it was headed by Walter Gropius, founder of Bauhaus design. Another Bauhaus exponent, Gyorgy Kepes, taught at M.I.T. where Campbell worked with him and where she met Robert Bliss.

South American Experiences (02:07)

Anna Campbell Bliss talks about her experiences in South America, particularly her time in and near Machu Picchu.

Importance of Color to Art (01:59)

Bob and Anna Bliss bring Annie and Josef Albers and Buckminster Fuller to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Anna recalls her interest in Albers' work, and in particular in his book "Interaction of Color."

Art and Silk Screen (02:38)

The Minneapolis years marked the beginning of Anna's career as an artist. In 1963, Anna and Robert moved to Utah where she began painting and working with silk screens. We see work that explores color vibration called "Spectrum Squared."

Computer Technology and Art (03:24)

In Utah, Anna Campbell Bliss first began working with computers. She taught herself programming. Anna recalls her early computer artistic works, some of which viewers see.

Exploration of Technology and Color (04:30)

In 1984, Anna receives a 6-month fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She studied the development of color in architecture in the Renaissance period. She discusses her project for the Utah State Capitol called "Windows." She says the project is pivotal to her art.

Commissioned Work: Stained Glass Windows (02:19)

We see Anna Campbell Bliss's 40' x 40' stained glass window for the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Sandy, Utah. Called the "Light of Grace," this 1993 work uses colors to express the joy celebrated by the church.

Commissioned Work: "Discoverers" (01:58)

In 1996, Anna designed an 8' x 26' mural for the Salt Lake City Airport called "Discoverers." She describes part of the process of working on the mural and with public officials. We see her unusual book "Labyrinths of the Mind."

Commissioned Work: "Extended Vision" (05:39)

In a large work called "Extended Vision," Anna Campbell Bliss combined computer technology, mathematics, and art. It occupies three floors of a mathematics building. Viewers get a close-up of many parts of the work.

Blindness and Vision Restored (02:00)

In 2004, as Anna prepares to go to Italy to revisit the American Academy, she learns that she is nearly blind. She underwent a series of experimental injections in her eyes. After cataracts are removed, she can see again.

College of Nursing Installations (02:08)

Today, Anna continues to produce major works of art. She won a competition to create 10 works for the College of Nursing building at the University of Utah. We see a number of these installations.

Artist's Legacy (03:37)

Nearing the age of 90, Anna still pursues new directions in her work. We see portions of her 2011 work entitled "Experiments," which incorporates MRI scans of her head. People from many disciplines can find elements of her work to admire.

Credits: Arc of Light: A Portrait of Anna Campbell Bliss (02:01)

Credits: Arc of Light: A Portrait of Anna Campbell Bliss

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Arc of Light: A Portrait of Anna Campbell Bliss

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Taking inspiration from science and technology as well as art history, Anna Campbell Bliss developed a style that synthesized many of the movements of early 20th-century modernism. This film traces the broad spectrum of Bliss’s life and work, ranging from the influences of her early childhood and her groundbreaking career as a Harvard-trained architect to her emergence as a cutting-edge artist fusing a wide range of elements: mathematics, computers, printmaking, calligraphy, and more. Featuring interviews with Bliss and her husband, Robert, as well as with other notable art world professionals, the documentary shows how Bliss’s career was shaped by her studies with Bauhaus exponents Walter Gropius and György Kepes, and how associations with Josef Albers, R. Buckminster Fuller, and other figures were also crucial. In addition, the film touches on what may have been Bliss’s greatest personal challenge—a period, thankfully temporary, in which cataracts threatened to destroy her eyesight. (51 minutes)

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL52429

ISBN: 978-1-61753-228-3

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“Focuses on the ways Bliss has integrated the tenets of New Bauhaus design and Color Theory into her own vibrantly geometric paintings, screenprints, and large-scale installations for over 50 years.”  ARTnews

2012 Television, Internet & Video Association of D.C. Bronze Peer Award for Best Documentary Over 30 Minutes

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video customers.