More behind-the scene photos of David Ross’ film: “Unrequited.” The plot, so to speak (and if one is really required) has something to do with BlueMahler’s descent in Wonderland. As for the unrequited part-let us say it has something to do with a pretty girl named Alice (Jessica Froelich). Photography by James Mannan (who also appears in the film), and J. Ross Eaker.
“Our Lady Of The Mermaids”©2011 is a 3 ft x 4 ft oil on canvas. Over the years, I have painted numerous Madonnas, born full grown from a painter’s brow, yet I feel it is this one alone, from 2011, in which my very personal tradition and theological tenets crystallized most lucidly. I have attempted, since then, to paint her again as I did here. Predictably, it has proven futile. Although, Our Lady wears a thousand different skin tones, a thousand names, and a thousand costumes, she stands uniquely untamed in this canvas. This is no Madonna, subjected to patriarchal erasure, no demure, chaste cabbage. Our Lady is imbued with wild sensuality, diaphanous compassion, and revolutionary divinity. She is our lush, boundlessly expansive sanctuary of fearless truth-telling; the fiery daughter of primal white goddesses and Sophianic Mother of the brown mermaids.
* Our Lady was chosen for the 2014 cover of Aurora Literary Magazine.
“Annihilation” is a 2014, 40 x 48 oil on canvas. It stems from Sufi meditation. “Christ casting the money changers out of the temple” is that figure’s moth to the flame moment. It is the only time we see the gospel figure losing his temper and it is this act, which gets him killed and inevitably transforms him. It is lack of love that Christ is responding to. Rather than the traditional depicted action narrative, usually attached to the subject, “Annihilation” is filtered through Le Pointe Vierge; the innermost secret heart.
“Annunciation” is a 2011, 3 ft x 5 ft oil on canvas, painted while I was in grad school seminary. It is the prologue to the Magnificat. The Marian figure is young, ethnic, sensually caught up in her mystical hour, manifested through the celestial visitor.
“Pieta” is one of numerous oil on canvases (3 ft x 5 ft) I have painted on the traditional subject. This interpretation is from 2011, and directly followed the above “Annunciation.” The same figure is aged approximately thirty years. Again, she is endowed in her Hour. Her Son, reduced to Corpus Christie, is being lifted to Her by John the beloved and Joseph of Arimathea.The author of the Beatitudes is clearly the son of the Magnificat’s author. In the gospel narrative, Christ cried out to His Father: “Why have you forsaken me?” Father turned His face from Son. Yet, Mother faced Her son directly. As painful as it was, She did not look away. She did not forsake Him and wears a shirt of arrows for Him. “Stations IV. Christ meets His Mother On The Way To The Cross” is a 2011 oil on canvas and on of six Station paintings. All are 5 ft x 5 ft. Again, I dispense of a narrative per se and channel the event through a purely emotional, almost musically mystical filter. This is a homage to the teachings of Fr. Justin Belitz. “Barenboim conducts the Bruckner 7th” is a 2014, 3 ft x 4 ft oil on canvas. It is a reinterpretation from a sketch I made during a Chicago concert of that symphony, conducted by Daniel Barenboim in the 1990s. The 7th is the most personally mystical of Bruckner’s symphonic output. Barenboim is a pronounced romanticist and a visceral Brucknerian, shaping the composer’s intimate sanctuary. “Pieta” is a 58 x 48 oil on canvas from 2014. Revisiting the subject, I concentrated on the relationship between the Madonna and Her slain Son in a celestial, communal setting.
“Yellow Resurrection” is a 30 x 48 oil on canvas from 2008 and an entirely different variation of previous Pieta-like themes. My BlueMahler character serves as a narrator, composing an exotic interpretation of the Easter theme. “Christ and the Woman at the Well” is a 2014, 3 ft x 4 ft oil on canvas. It is painted in monochromatic hues. No water well is depicted. I forgo a narrative in favor of an emotional interaction. Although Christ is recognized as prophet, He learns from her. She teaches him her humanity and it is a vulnerable sharing.
“Escape To A Mysterious Freedom” is one of several paintings inspired by my time in New Mexico. It is a 2007 oil on canvas and depicts a lone, female rider. It is a surreal variation of Gauguin’s Riders On The Beach. The woman is on a tension-filled promenade and the freedom which awaits her is an unknown one. I had read St. John of the Cross’ “Dark Night Of The Soul’ shortly before painting this and that certainly factored in.
“Prayer For A Perilous Descent” is a 45 x 60, 2007 oil on canvas and companion piece to the previous painting. A family is depicted: A mother and father, shielding their children, through a perilous descent while Holy Mother prays for their safety.
“Blue Fugue” is another 2007 companion to “Escape To A Mysterious Freedom” and is 3 ft x 4 ft. St. John Of the Cross and Gauguin inform the painting’s theme and milieu. A lone, male figure rides into a terrain of infinite shadows.
“Passion of Perpetua and Felicity” is a 30 x 40, 2008 oil on canvas, taken from a gnostic text of martyrdom. It is a literal, narrative interpretation, but one saturated with paradoxical emotions, including divine eroticism.
“Married In the Faucet” is a 3 ft x 4 ft 2007 canvas, named after a line from a poem by John M. Bennett (who acted in two of my films. He was Satan in “Jesus and her Gospel of Yes” and George H. Bush in “W.”) The BlueMahler character is depicted in an unconsummated marriage. “Finger Paint Viscosity” is a 3 ft x 4 ft, 2007 oil on canvas, named after Cheryl Townsend poem (Cheryl played Jesus in my “Jesus and her Gospel of Yes” film). BlueMahler conducts the non-narrative narrative (as he did in the film). Cheryl herself is depicted. Her form echoes the eroticism inherent in her words. There is an Alexander Scriabin-like insect quality to her sexed-up figure. * All paintings are for sale. For pricing, serious inquiries may contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Hay que caminar, soñando “is a 40 x 60, 2013 oil on canvas, named after a musical composition by Luigi Nono, translated (roughly) as “Wanderer, there is no destination, but you must travel the road.”
“Risonanze errant” (Resonances wandering) is a x 33 x 52, oil on canvas from 2013, named after a musical composition by Luigi Nono.
“Omaggio a Luigi Nono” is a 3 ft x 3 ft oil on canvas, and homage to Luigi Nono.
“Io, Frammento da Prometeo” is a 48 x 48, 2013 oil on canvas, named after a musical composition by Luigi Nono.
“Shifting Sanctuaries” is a 2009, 30 x 48 oil on canvas of the BlueMahler character.
“Fragments From a Crepuscular World” is a 30 x 48 oil on canvas from 2009.
“Self Portrait of the artist as a middle aged man” is a 3ft x 4 ft oil on canvas, from 2009.
“Without World” is a 4ft x 4 ft oil on canvas from 2009.
** A portion of all sales will go to the Franciscan Hermitage.
©2014 David Ross
Stations, a work in progress…
- Written by Alfred Eaker and Wendy Collin Sorin.
- Additional poetry by John M. Bennett.
- Directed by Alfred Eaker and J. Ross Eaker
- Art director: Todd M. Coe
- Additional art direction: J. Ross Eaker, Alfred Eaker and Wendy Collin Sorin.
- Starring: Randy Cox as James the Lesser; Tristan Ross, as James the Greater; Amy Petinella, as Eve; Alfred Eaker, as BlueMahler; James Mannan, as Herod; Robin Panet, as the witch.
All images copyright of Eaker Productions, llc. © Eaker Productions 2014.
“I Was Married to a Mermaid” is an excerpt from a longer work entitled Brother Cobweb. Co-directed by Alfred Eaker and J. Ross Eaker. Featuring Alfred Eaker, James Mannan, and Vanessa Blake.
While I always look forward to films from Alfred Eaker, I’ll freely admit that usually they’re over my head. Alfred works on a level that’s a bit beyond me…and I don’t consider myself stupid, but Eaker’s clearly a level above me! Well, that being said, his latest short, I Was Married To A Mermaid, is one of the best he’s done, so far.The story here is tentatively about a man who’s religious daughter doesn’t believe that he was once married to a mermaid. But, that’s just the kernel of story, what’s really going on here is a tale of belief and faith, if you really believe that you were married to a mermaid, who’s to say you weren’t? And, if someone tried to convince you that your beliefs are wrong, who’s to say what their motivations really are?It’s a short that will make you think about religion and what it can be used for. And, it’s a short that I truly enjoyed, and I usually don’t enjoy movies that make me think this much! I’m giving I Was Married to a Mermaid 4 out of 4 cigars, it’s an interesting movie, but the conversation that follows is amazing! Head overhere and check it out for yourself!
REVIEW: THE INDEPENDENT CRITIC
Alfred Eaker is Back With “I Was Married to a Mermaid”
There is one problem that I have with an Alfred Eaker film. It can be summed up most easily as “WTF?”
If as a moviegoer you crave narrative cohesion and a paint-by-numbers storyline, then you should be cautioned to stay as far away as possible from Eaker, an innovative filmmaker whose indie spirit manifests itself in short and feature-length films that are experimental in construction, thought provoking in themes, and more than a few moments where you’re left scratching your head mumbling to yourself “I have no idea what he means by any of this” but loving it anyway. If you’ve ever read anything by Eaker or seen any of his other films, then you already know that he’s a guy who can weave a thread of spirituality into even the darkest of themes, a gift that can be both jarring and sublime. Those words, jarring and sublime, both came to mind as I sat down to watch Eaker’s latest short film, I Was Married to a Mermaid, a just over 11-minute short film that was created as part of a class at Indy’s Herron School of Art. The film is part of a larger work-in-progress called Brother Cobweb, which is beginning its life as a novel. The film is a fictional piece inspired by Eaker’s experiences growing up in a Pentecostal church. After you’ve seen the film, you’ll likely find yourself going “Well, duh!” But, I digress. I would love to tell you what I Was Married to a Mermaid is all about. I would love to explain its themes, both philosophical and theological. I would love to weave my mind through its relational dynamics and its unresolved issues, but to do so would take far longer than the film’s 11-minute running time because even watching the film you’ll find yourself absolutely captivated by the film’s images, sounds, and words as they unfold before your eyes. What I will say is, and I can say it with absolute conviction, is that there is a reason that Brother Cobweb (Eaker) is Brother Cobweb. Eaker hasn’t chosen his wording likely, and the memories and thoughts that unfold are shards of reality and fantasy and truth and fiction. Eaker, using his marvelous creation known as BlueMahler as the foundation for Brother Cobweb, has crafted a character both charismatic and rather frightening in his constant presence. He is intricately woven into the lives of Mom (Vanessa Blake) and Pop (James Mannan), whose relationship is never fully explained yet is lived out with Mom’s constant listening to old fire and brimstone sermons on cassette tape while Pop mumbles about working on an unfinished manuscript lost in seeming disillusionment and a shattered faith. I Was Married to a Mermaid is truly jarring in the ways in which Eaker and co-director J.Ross Eaker weave into the story a variety of dramatic images and ideas that have clearly impacted everything else that unfolds. Yet, there’s a richness of humanity as it becomes more and more apparent that we are watching what feels like an occasionally painful and occasionally very resolute spiritual disintegration. To say that Eaker excels as BlueMahler (as Brother Cobweb) feels redundant, because BlueMahler is a performance art character created by Eaker in the early 80’s and his comfort in the persona is obvious and satisfying. Eaker excels in both his character’s quieter moments and in those moments when he truly comes to life. Vanessa Blake also shines as Mom, a woman who is seemingly clinging to her faith despite, I’d suppose, the places her faith has taken her. James Mannan, as Pop, gives what is no doubt one of my favorites of Mannan’s many performances. Mannan’s Pop is simultaneously broken yet crystal clear, resigned yet resolute, and heartbreaking yet surprisingly enlightened. Mannan serves up a layered performance that is both experimental and incredibly well defined. The only real area that hinders the impact of I Was Married to a Mermaid is found in some of its early transition scenes, scenes that require a technological ability that isn’t quite present in this low-budget yet otherwise tremendously satisfying film. While these scenes do distract just a tad, one can also easily argue that their roughness fits with the stark themes carried out throughout the rest of the film. Remember that problem I talked about with Alfred Eaker? It’s also the very thing that keeps drawing me to his films time and time again. © Written by Richard Propes The Independent Critic
On the set of “Unrequited Part 3: Curious Eggette.”
David Ross’ retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland saga.
Egg crafted by Angel Adorey. Costumes Linda Kay Greis Ross.
Jessica Froelich as Alice, Alfred Eaker as BlueMahler
Part 1 of the 5-part feature will be showing at GenCon!
Dennis Forkel, Jessica Froelich Dennis Forkel Dennis Forkel, Jessica Froelich, David Butts, and James Mannan Dennis Forkel and James MannanDennis Forkel,David Butts, and James Mannan
BlueMahler toasting with tea.
Stations ©2013 Eaker productions
We hope you enjoy this short companion film to the documentary Thunder-Sky as much as we’ve enjoyed your life’s work. I hope you travel well.
BlueMahler pays homage to the artist Raymond Thunder-Sky. BlueMahler is the performance art character of artist Alfred Eaker. Like Raymond’s stoic construction clown, BlueMahler is not a clown in the traditional sense. Rather, the clown characterization is merely a skin to wear for the spirit journey.
“Wanderer, there may be no destination, but you must travel the road anyway.” -Luigi Nono, composer. BlueMahler feels this is something Raymond understood and identified with. It is that which endeared Raymond to BlueMahler. This is BlueMahler’s tribute.
Co-directed by Alfred Eaker and J. Ross Eaker
Starring Shelby Armstrong, Alfred Eaker, Nate Saylor, Steve Stephens, and Jordan Wheatley.
Make-up Jen Ring, Shelby Armstrong, and Steve Stephens.
Music: Peer Gynt by E. Grieg courtesy of Tahra Records
© Eaker productions, llc.