George S. Semsel, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus


Many people know Dr. George S. Semsel as one of the pioneers whose books introduced the films of the People¨s Republic to the English-speaking world. In the mid-1980¨s, Dr. Semsel worked in the Chinese film industry in Beijing then under the Ministry of Culture. Later, his first Fulbright had him teaching, writing scripts and making films at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University in Thailand; his second had him teaching film and modern American poetry at Shandong University in China. For more than fifty years now, he has been an independent experimental and documentary filmmaker, perhaps the last survivor of the Gyphon Film Group. Most recently he has turned from 16mm to digital film which he finds especially suited for his personal ethnographic image-making, and to digital photography. Remembering Chickens (1993), premiered in Jinan, China. Fragments from Rosemary¨s Recipe Box (2001), a 16mm memoir of his late wife, Rosemary, premiered recently on Cape Cod as did Lhamo Tsering (2002), shot on mini-dv at the Labuleng Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Gansu Province. Retrospectives of his work have been held at the Athens Cinema Club and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, where his 16mm films have been archived. His recently published feature-length screenplay, Ai Mei, has been under consideration for production  in China. Now retired after more than 40 years of university teaching, 37 of them in the School of Film at Ohio University, Dr. Semsel, now Professor Emeritus, spends most of his time with his wife, the ceramics artist Yang Jing, at their home on Cape Cod.


Since his retirement, Dr. Semsel has turned his attentions back to photography, the art he discovered at an early age when his brother brought him into a neighbor¨s darkroom and showed him how to make enlargements. In high school, he was fortunate to study both photography and filmmaking with Lester Myers, winning a national scholastic award in photography. Until he entered the National Guard, he found work as a offset cameraman in a yearbook publishing house. Later, in graduate school, he would earn an interdisciplinary doctorate in Photography and Cinema and Education under Dr. Robert Wagner at The Ohio State University.


Dr. Semsel has long based his aesthetics in the snapshot and home movie as opposed to the formalities and technical trappings of the film studio and commercial photography. This is most evident in his collection of films on and is reflected in the current show. His recent work, which centers on the local neighborhood on Cape Cod where he now lives, is divided into three related studies: the patterns found on the local streets which he finds often reflective of Chinese calligraphy; furniture, sofas primarily, offered for free at the curb to anyone who wants them, and, as one would anticipate, the more general shots of people enjoying the pleasures of Cape Cod.



Yang Jing


There is an energy to all things. It is my task as an artist to make this energy felt.


For many years Yang Jing  worked as a cinematographer for the Ministry of Water Resources in her homeland, China, a position which took her to all regions of the country. She participated in the making of numerous documentaries, including the award-winning Canadian film, Nu Shu: The Hidden Language of Women.


Yang Jing studied ceramics under Brad Schwieger at Ohio University, and later undertook a residency with Jackson Li at the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen, China. Her work has been displayed at the Provincetown Art Association Museum, the Wa Collection, and the Art Tao Water Art Gallery on Cape Cod. It has also been selected for inclusion in the Shiwan Ceramics Museum in Guangdong, China.


^In Tibet, I felt the power of the primal human spirit which has been there for centuries, an experience I have never forgotten. In my photographs of Tibetans, I have tried to present the spiritual power I saw in their faces. After moving to Cape Cod at the end of the last century, I have turned to ceramics as an extension of my interests as an artist. Using clay, terra cotta most often, and porcelain, as the appropriate and natural material for my subjects, I draw upon the creation myths of both Eastern and Western mythologies as the basic elements for hand-built sculptures as well as for thrown works. ̄