"The task of art is enormous... Art should cause violence to be set aside."
Best known for his captivating realist paintings, artist Alan Magee also creates works that delve into the darkest aspects of human nature. His arresting images which comment on corporate greed, on cruelty and gun violence, and on civilian and military victims of war seem at odds with his serene paintings of nature and found objects, but through his distinctive visual language and interconnected themes, Magee suggests that these dual realms are inseparably interwoven.
The documentary Alan Magee: art is not a solace explores the artist’s subjects, locales, and the historical sources which have sustained his work for five decades. Through his paintings, sculpture, monotypes, music, and short films Magee asks viewers to consider the breadth of human behavior and experience. As Barry Lopez observes, “Alan wants you to be attentive to the world around you, and being attentive to the world around you means you can’t just stare at what is conventionally beautiful— you must look at the whole panorama.”
Shot on location, from Pemaquid Point, Maine to the streets of Berlin, the film examines the ways in which art can address the great challenges we face as a society. It features long-time friends and collaborators, including writer Barry Lopez, Berlin-based cellist Frank Dodge, labor-union director and historian Harris Gruman, Curator/Director of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art Suzette McAvoy, and artist Robert Shetterly, creator of the Americans Who Tell the Truth project.
“[Alan] wants you to be attentive to the world around you, and being attentive to the world around you means you can’t just stare at what is conventionally beautiful. You must look at the whole panorama... Alan is not obsessed with darkness, but he is aware of darkness, and how darkness informs the light.”
Barry Lopez, Author of Arctic Dreams, Resistance and Horizon
“This is a remarkable film about a remarkable artist. It’s a long time since I’ve seen anything that so skillfully gets inside the life of a highly creative person at work. And Alan Magee: Art is Not a Solace does this on so many levels, attentive to Magee’s background, his technique, the influences on him, and—something so often ignored when we talk about artists—the great lies and injustices of the times in which we live.”
Adam Hochschild, Author of King Leopold’s Ghost, To End All Wars and Spain in Our Hearts
“Alan Magee: Art is Not a Solace, is a vivid, insightful and touching new film about an iconic American master whose work, especially in the unforgiving format of monotypes, is a kind of high-wire act: challenging, provocative, disturbing, yet also hauntingly beautiful.”
Ted Tally, Academy Award-winning Screenwriter, The Silence of the Lambs
Listen to musicians Alan Magee, Gabriel Donohue and Marian Makins perform a song for our times. Part of this timely documentary about speaking truth to power
SINGING IN THE DARK TIMES
Alan Magee’s arresting images which comment on corporate greed, on cruelty and gun violence, and on civilian and military victims of war, at first seem at odds with his exquisite and serene paintings of nature and found objects.
When we begin to understand the visual language and the common themes that link the two sides of the artist’s work, we recognize that these dual realms are inseparably interwoven.
Alan’s work suggests that we need to embrace both darkness and light if we are to understand ourselves.
View Alan's work at Forum Gallery
Three clips from the feature length film
Through this film about the multi-disciplined creative efforts of artist Alan Magee, co-directors David Berez and David Wright hope to inspire viewers, especially the young, to bring their gifts and aptitudes to bear on the multiple issues and crises that threaten our common future.
Download a pdf of the look book for the film
DAVID BEREZ: CO-DIRECTOR / EDITOR
David Berez is a Producer and Director of more than 400 video, film and multimedia projects for broadcast, corporate and non profit clients. He is the senior producer and owner of Post Office Editorial, a boutique post production facility in Camden, Maine. His work ranges from nationally broadcast PBS documentaries to a CLIO Award winning multimedia history of orthopaedic surgery. David has directed and filmed from the underwater canyons of Bloody Bay Wall to the aeromedical evacuations out of war torn Iraq. His work has appeared on PBS, The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and in numerous board rooms across the country.
DAVID WRIGHT: CO-DIRECTOR / CINEMATOGRAPHER
Filmmaker and Photographer David Wright has worked in over 60 countries and all seven continents, for clients including National Geographic, PBS and the BBC. Stories covered include wildlife, history, exploration, human interest and travel. David works both as a cinematographer and producer on film projects. Recent stories include a PBS Special on the Pentagon, an expedition film from Tibet, as well as a photographic exhibit retracing the steps of explorer Lowell Thomas from northern India to Lhasa. Awards include two Emmy’s, and Jules Verne Award and a BAFTA for his documentaries.
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