From August 8, 2011 Currently on display at the Arkansas Arts Center is Building the Collection: Art [mostly drawings] Acquired in the 1980s. In the entranceway, several large pieces direct you toward the show. Handy Illusion is a massive ink on paper. A face consumes the paper’s surface, but it’s been drawn and redrawn with … Continue reading
From June 30, 2011 I made a trip to the Arkansas Arts Center, for their new show In Search of Norman Rockwell. Eighteen of Rockwell’s works are presented with photographs by Kevin Rivoli, a photojournalist that is known for his pictures of everyday America. Most of Rockwell’s works were collotypes (prints). I was disappointed, because … Continue reading
From June 29, 2011
The 41st Annual Exhibition of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists is winding down at the Historic Arkansas Museum. It’s on the second floor, in the gallery overlooking Reel to Real: Gone with the Wind and the Civil War in Arkansas. The Gone with the Wind show features costumes and production paintings from the film. I was hoping to spot the green-velvet dress that Scarlet made from curtains, but it wasn’t included.
My favorite paintings in the show included Ann Franklin’s Sunny Winter Day (16 x 20”, NFS). It’s a study of horses at a feed rack, painted in brilliant, but not garish, colors. An orange-red predominates, which makes the focal point, a purplish horse, stand out among the crowd. A yellow palomino standing next to the subject keeps the eye focused onn the center of the painting, the complementary purple and yellow colors playing off one another.
I also liked Following Old Paths by Mary Nancy Henry (23 x 30”; $425). Painted in layers of warm grays and black, it shows a forested path simplified into sculptural forms.
Parallel Universe by Barbara Edwards (38 x 32”; $2,000) is best viewed a few feet away. This large abstract translates into an otherworldly landscape. The predominantly warm-blue piece is accented with dark, cold blues and strips of orange-browns which seem to define fields. The paint is splattered, scratched, brushed and dabbed.
Htun Tin painted 327-Sail (36 x 28”; $2,000). The work takes its name from the boat in the foreground, which read 372-sail on its side. The boat is tied to a dock, and is quite realistic. My only criticism would be the harsh skyline in the background. It seems too abrupt and unnatural, and conflicts with the realistic style elsewhere in the painting. A very nice work nevertheless.
Joan’s New Shoes by Judith Coffey (24” x 34”; NFS) is a flat, abstracted work painted in pastel metallics on a black ground. The work shows a woman; the composition cuts off her head. In the background appear to be the fragments of chairs and tables. Numbers are scattered throughout.
The Mid-Southern Watercolorists have a reputation for assembling an interesting show, and I’m already looking forward to seeing next year’s entries.
NOTE: If you visit the Mid-Southern Watercolorists site, be sure to click on the images to see the full composition. They have been cropped to square to fit on the web page.
From June 10, 2011 Following a screening of his 2004 film, Shotgun Stories, at the fifth‑annual Little Rock Film Festival, producer‑director Jeff Nichols was interviewed by film critic Philip Martin. At the Cannes Film Festival, Nichols’ latest film, Take Shelter, won the Critics’ Week competition against seven other films, as well as the Society of Dramatic … Continue reading
From June 8, 2011
On Saturday, June 4, I saw Left by the Ship at the fifth‑annual Little Rock Film Festival. The documentary follows the stories of Amerasian children born in the Philippines. Their Filipino mothers were forced into prostitution by poverty. Their American fathers were servicemen who have since left the country—and their children—behind. The children are the only Amerasians fathered by servicemen not recognized as American citizens by the U.S. government.
Director‑producers Emma Rossi Landi and Alberto Vendemmiati were present after the screening for a Q&A session.
The pair started making the film in 2007. They made connections with Filipino families through Emma’s mother, who was a peace activist and knew former Filipino prostitutes.
Someone in the audience asked whether the gray, threatening skies in the movie were intentional—included to reinforce the children’s plight. Said Alberto, “It rained all of the time. We were stuck in the room because of the weather, so we were forced to [shoot out the window].”
“We were the whole crew,” he said. The pair used two cameras, and filmed during three production trips lasting two months each. Emma and Alberto funded the first production trips. “We didn’t get a salary for more than three years,” said Emma.
Emma says that, in the Philippines, family is important. Someone not having family is considered nothing. Family is that “one thing that is richness in poverty.
Left by the Ship will be appearing on PBS next spring.
From June 8, 2011 The Conversation was a featured short at the 2011 Little Rock Film Festival. It’s about the abilities and frustrations of a hired gun, who happens to be blind. Visually impaired director, Leon Tidwell, says that “good comedy comes from frustration. A lot of these things are me… No, I’m not a … Continue reading
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First Dog is a family‑friendly film for young children screened at the Arkansas Film Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2011. It’s about a boy who finds the President’s dog after the dog wanders away after a press rally. Although Danny is tempted to keep “Teddy,” he decides that returning the dog is the right thing … Continue reading
From June 7, 2011 At the Little Rock Film Festival there was an excellent panel on independent film distribution (Friday, June 3, 2011). Tim Basham from Paste magazine moderated the discussion with Diana Sperrazza (Executive Producer for Investigation Discovery), Harry Thomason (Director of the festival’s featured film The Last Ride, and Erik Jambor (Director of Indie … Continue reading
From June 7, 2011
Sons of Perdition is a riveting documentary following three teenage boys who escape the right‑wing‑Mormon polygamist sect headed by Warren Jeffs.
The director, Tyler Measom, was present for a Q&A session following the Friday, June 3 screening at the Little Rock Film Festival.
Tyler and his wife worked on the film for five years. During the time when the movie was being made, most escapees fled to a rapidly‑growing city in close proximity to their families.
Since boys in the sect work construction sites from the age of eight, and there was a lot of construction work within the city, their skills allowed them to find employment and earn money.
An audience member asked whether the filmmakers ever felt afraid while they were making the movie?
Tyler said yes. Members from the sect drove white vans; the filmmakers saw white vans driving by their locations. Some of the drivers took photographs. At one point, stones were thrown at them.
Another question was, how did you find these particular boys?
Tyler explained that a number of teenagers were interviewed. Bruce, Joe, and Sam had that “certain something.” Plus they travelled in a group, so their stories were intertwined, and yet they followed different paths. These boys were also outgoing and articulate, and enjoyed being in a movie.
Tyler felt that he could relate somewhat to their difficulties, having left the Mormon Church himself.
He volunteered that, while they were filming Sons of Perdition, they kept true to documentary filmmaking. There were no re‑enactments. The boys were never told “say that again,” or “walk through here.” Said Tyler, “We missed a lot of great stuff, but we also caught a lot of great stuff.
Indeed they did.
Some people still question whether digital work should appear in art exhibitions. As a gallery owner, it’s been a question I’ve had to address.
At first I was resistant. But then, as I mulled art from a historical perspective and questioned my own prejudices, I found myself accepting the new medium.
At one time, even the impressionists we now admire were scoffed at. Paintings during their lives were ranked by subject matter and technique. The most accomplished artists painted historical works. Less accomplished painters made portraits. Those painting landscapes or still lifes were looked down upon, since imitations of nature could never be considered original. An artist who didn’t blend his brush strokes–to the point of being indiscernible–was simply sloppy.
European artists used egg tempera, and then oil paint. But prior to 1800, only 15 oil colors were available. Only when new technologies were introduced were additional colors created. Is it now “cheating” to use the new pigments?
And art is a reflection of the culture it’s born into. The art of some ancient cultures is found etched onto stone or painted onto vessels. Another society created idols; another still illuminated pages. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we have a highly mobile society with artists creating and transporting images digitally. A to-be-expected evolution.