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“Discovering Gary Erbe… an American Legacy”
Upper Gallery, November 07, 2019
Premier Film Screening
“Discovering Gary Erbe… an American Legacy”
The Producers’ Journey
Our journey to document the life and art of Gary Erbe included visiting museums, galleries and interviewing 47 people in 5 states – curators, directors, art historians, art critics, collectors, friends and relatives. We spent numerous hours with Gary in his studio. This documentary examines Gary as artist and mentor – his unique process and working habits, his passion, inspiration and empathy. It defines his genius, resiliency, and fortitude –the past that could have destroyed him but instead shaped him into the man he is today.
Our intent is to introduce Gary to a wider world – to track a creative soul and intellect that strives to connect to all of us. Our challenge is to create a very human portrait of a Living Artist. The documentary begins with testimonials followed by a musical panoply of 80 of his hundreds of artworks. The film then devolves into an unvarnished peek into his early years. As a ‘Labor of Love’, it begs the questions that plague many artists who might never run out of love for the craft but live in a ‘real’ world of money and politics.
We try to avoid the normal reaction of participants who either ‘freeze’ or become ‘stars’ in the presence of large film crews. The two of us did all of the filming. Our visual editing choices are designed to form patterns that maintain curiosity and interest. There is a musicality to the whole that enables complex concepts to be viewed and then viewed again in ways that are not repetitive, but keep on adding to perception, interpretation, and understanding of the underlying reality.
This Preview Premier Screening flows from the present back to 1944, then up to 1970 when Gary starts painting full-time. He is refreshingly unafraid and unencumbered by the practical exigencies of life – the very embodiment of an optimistic existence. The film then flashes forward to his 50th Retrospective at the Reading Public Museum. At the end of this Screening, we credit over two dozen on-camera people and then glimpse ahead at 6 major subject areas currently being edited for release in early 2020:
MUSEUMS: We will detail the set-up at the Reading – organization, logistics of the ‘hang’, removal of crates, lighting, labeling, the walk-through, opening ceremonies. We highlight other museums: The Butler Institute of American Art, the Heckscher, the Peto, the Nutley Historical Society, and other collectors.
PAINTINGS 1970-2020: We will focus on 30 of his favorite paintings and 3 sculptures; evolution of his styles, subject matter, his raison-d’etre for their creation.
PEOPLE: Gray Erbe’s deep relationships with other painters via association leaderships and individual mentoring, interpretation, and inspiration.
PROCESS: His working habits, canvas prep, constructions, drawings, palette, layering, frames, and attention to preservation.
PRECISION: A ballet/operatic musical mélange of Close-ups, showing Gary Erbe’s incredible attention to detail.
FINALE: His Hopes and Dreams and his Legacy.
Bob and Cheryl Schwartz, principals of Motiva-ConCensus, LLC., have known Gary Erbe since 1982 when they commissioned the painting “Fantasy in Pursuit II” after seeing his artwork in Manhattan. Their experience includes:
Museums: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of the City of New York (the “Big Apple Show ran for eleven years); “The Arts of Winston-Salem”; The Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture; The Fine Arts Museum of Long Island (Board Member); The Smithsonian Institute National Air and Space Museum; and multiple productions for The American Museum of Natural History.
Television: An EMMY Certificate for Bill Moyer’s “CREATIVITY” series on PBS; “A Walk Through The 20th Century” with Bill Moyers on WNET in New York (Episode 5: “The Democrat and the Dictator”); The David Frost Show; The Dick Cavett Show.
Corporate: 95 shows for Sikorsky Aircraft; 17 productions for American Can Company; and over 100 other venues in Government Agencies, Real Estate Developments, Associations, & HealthCare.
Bob and Cheryl Schwartz can be reached at: email@example.com or 212-753-1888
Pictured: Gary and Cheryl in front of “Fantasy in Pursuit II”