Remarkable Jewish artist

June 27, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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The National Gallery in Canberra will screen a remarkable film featuring  Jewish American artist Jon Imber.

The film’s director Richard Kane will “attend”  the Canberra screening on Wednesday through Skype and will participate in a Q&A following the film.

Jon Imber

Jon Imber

From the Boston Globe’s front page April 24, 2014:

“This beautiful film … takes the wind out of you…. (it’s) about more than the legacy of a painter. (Director) Kane … gets over Imber’s infectious passion for painting … with an urgency and elan that are a pleasure to watch. … in the end … this was a film … about love.” “Director Richard Kane’s bittersweet and deeply moving film,” Maine Sunday Telegram, March 30, 2014. In the summer of 2012, painter Jon Imber was diagnosed with a fatal degenerative disease, ALS. Imber’s Left Hand tells the story of this artist’s courageous and often darkly humorous response to such a sentence. The film traces his adaptations, from switching from painting with his right hand to his left, and then to both hands as the condition progresses. Adversity only makes him more determined to paint, and paint he does: more than 100 portraits in a three-month span.

In the film we first encounter Imber in his Somerville, MA studio. He and his partner, painter Jill Hoy, analyze a self-portrait and talk about the anxiety to come. The painting becomes an unsettling metaphor of Jon’s psychological journey living into his dying through his art.

 

 

In one scene, while reviewing family photos, he comes across a picture of himself at nine at a family Seder. Hoy says it’s his Judaism that’s at the root of who he is. “How so?” Imber asks, to which Hoy replies, “Your delivery, your responsibility, your search your quest for the integrity of what you do. There’s a very deep root there.”

The way in which Imber carries on against the greatest of odds is at the heart of this portrait. Especially moving is how members of his Maine community rally to his support, dropping by to give his atrophied hands a massage or bring a dish, as he invites them to have their portrait painted. A spry 93-year-old is told by Imber that he will paint him “au naturel”. “Does that mean I have to take everything off?” he replies. The session becomes an exercise in Borscht Belt humor as Imber tells him he will do something radical
— paint a portrait series of naked 90 year olds! In the end, Imber’s Left Hand is a testament to the life-giving force that is art and the ability of two people and their community to face an uncertain future with passion and resolve.

“A masterpiece of intimacy in the face of tragedy, ‘Jon Imber’s Left Hand’ is an extraordinary accomplishment in film. It is the eulogizing of the creative force and artistic life of one of America’s leading painters – in his own vibrant voice,” Daniel Kany, Maine Sunday Telegram, March 30, 2014

IMBERS LEFT HAND (USA, 2014, 76 mins, 18+)
Wednesday 01 July, 6.30pm, doors open 5.45 pm
Australian premiere of the moving tribute to painting and life as an artist battles a deadly illness. Followed by Skype Q&A with director Richard Kane.
Venue: James O Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery Australia, Canberra

Tickets: $16, $14 concession, $12 NGA members Pay bar and snacks available
For further information including film trailer and booking visit:
http://nga.gov.au/WinterFilmSeries/

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