Four Artists Paint One Tree

Oh my goodness…University-friend, Robert Waldren, posted this Youtube video on Facebook this evening!!  I must confess that for the first ten years of my 30 year teaching career, I booked out the 16 mm. film, Four Artists Paint One Tree, from IMC.  If one of my readers is a student from that period, let me know if you remember it!  In the day, it was sometimes tricky dragging the equipment into the classroom, pulling down the screen, and successfully threading the movie in the projector.  More than once, I looked behind the cart and found meters of film poured out onto the floor.

4ArtistsPaint1TreeBelieve it or not, this was very innovative for the time.  It makes me laugh as I listen to the background soundtrack and musical choices.  After this viewing, I stressed the point of developing an individual style and even more particular to that, determining your favourite mark making tools and marks.  One of my art teachers had really made an impression with me regarding mark making some time before 1976.   This film was originally made in 1958: Walt Disney made observations of how Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Josh Meador and Walt Peregoy each painted one tree and background.  LOVE THIS!!  This was a huge walk down memory lane and I thank you, Robert Waldren!

It seems as though every artist has particular subjects that they draw and paint over and over again from their earliest explorations, discovering an approach to things…for me, it was a tree and an eye.  It is no wonder I was drawn to this movie.

What amazes me is that as I search, I learn how many people have written about this particular film.

Mr. Patterns, Featured Documentary at the Esker Foundation

Last night I had opportunity to view the beautiful documentary, Mr. Patterns, at the Esker Foundation.  I was so happy to meet up with Wendy Lees of Love Art in Calgary and to sit back in such a perfect space, nibbling on popcorn and sipping lime bubbly.  If you have not yet visited the exhibit Fiction/Non-Fiction, please do.

The thirteen artists in Fiction/Non-fiction challenge mainstream cultural and political narratives by offering transcultural critique through works that propose counterpoints, rhetorical questions, and revisionist statements (often as increasingly abstract forms of representation) to official historical records or archives.

Sometimes people appreciate my book suggestions.  As related to the topic of the documentary, I recommend two books.  A 1986 book, Songlines, written by Bruce Chatwin is directly related to the Dreamtime of the Papunya Tula artists.  I had tears in the dark when I saw in the documentary, the artists singing the Honey Ants…a powerful piece of iconography, strong symbols, on the side of a building.

Papunya Tula Honey Ants

Papunya Tula Honey Ants

I also recommend, especially for my women-readers, Marlo Morgan’s Mutant Message Down Under.  These two books will introduce the reader to a context as it relates to the status of the indigenous peoples of Australia.  The documentary presented parallels to the stories of indigenous peoples the world over.  A must-see.

The Papunya Tula art movement says so much about the human spirit and Geoffrey Bardon is to be commended for his vision and his promotion of the artists throughout that period of history.  The documentary was laced together with 16 mm. footage.  I enjoyed that sensibility as it contributed to themes of memory.

Charlie Tararu Tjungurrayi

Charlie Tararu Tjungurrayi