JIM DORAN

Blog

I loved “Welcome to Marwen”

Steve Carell in the excellent "Welcome to Marwen"

There are a few movies that are in constant rotation in my studio/home. I watch and/or listen to them while I work and/or workout. I’m not saying they are cinematic masterpieces, only that I love them. It’s the highest praise I can give. These movies continue to provide rewards with consecutive viewings.

I just saw Welcome to Marwen, it immediately earned a spot on my tiny, exclusive list.

Steve Carell plays Mark Hogancamp, an artist who had his memories and drawing skills beaten out of him outside of a bar when he drunkenly admitted he likes to wear women’s shoes.

Welcome to Marwen Gals

Much of the narrative takes place in Hogancamp’s yard, in a model town he created called Marwen. Barbie like action figures (the characters in the film actually call them action figures, bless) interact with a puppet figure Hogancamp. It’s an elaborate coping mechanism that highlights the resilience of imagination. He stages realistic scenes and photographs them. The shift between two worlds – a miniature facsimile and the “real” world – is enticing. Plus, the bad guys are Nazis and they are repeatedly pummeled by his stiletto wearing female protectors. The sets are wonderful. And Carell’s Hogancamp is endearing without being sappy. He finds peace and acceptance in his internal world – who doesn’t want that?

I read a shitty review of this film (there is no shortage of them) that noted Welcome to Marwen is for people who complain about Hollywood’s formulaic films. I went to see this with a friend, and we both thought the movie felt “loooooooong.” But, that’s not a bad thing, and I also think this deserves several initial viewings. Does it have some problems? Probably. But it’s so good.

The real Mark Hogancamp

It’s directed by Robert Zemeckis, who directed Back to the Future movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Cast Away, and Forrest Gump.  I think this film is a labour of love, and perhaps wasn’t really positioned to be a blockbuster. I don’t care if it was. I’m glad they got this story out into the world. There’s even a nod to Back to the Future.

Where Two Worlds Touch

Greenbelt Gallery

I am very happy to be a part of the show  Where Two Worlds Touch: Drawing and Sculpture by Mary Baum, Jim Doran and Annie Farrar

Three artists explore edges and portals connecting physical and metaphysical worlds.

The Greenbelt Community Center Art Gallery
15 Crescent Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Link to their site

The show runs from August 25 through October 28, and gallery hours are: M-Sa, 9pm – 10pm. Su, 9am – 7pm.

I like both of my colleague’s work in the show. It was a good match. Annie’s work, in particular, deserves close study, as I hope you’ll see.

I’m particularly proud of this show, because I’m debuting my large drawings (the longest is 20′ and the tallest is 10′ 5″). I’ve also integrated a comic, and the map of the Land of the Dead ties all the pieces together into a single narrative. It was very satisfying to make, and to see assembled.

Four Horsemen

Four Horsemen

Cases and Shadowboxes

Pine Island

Bunny Detail on Pine Island

The Port Authority

Where two worlds touch

 

Large scale drawings

I met with Nicole, the Arts Supervisor for the Greenbelt Community Center Art Gallery, early in July to review plans for the amazing show “Where Two Worlds Touch: Drawing and Sculpture by Mary Baum, Jim Doran and Annie Farrar”, which is on display in Greenbelt, Maryland, until the end of October (more on that shortly).

I shared the large drawing of “A Reunion” with her, and outlined my hopes for using the space.

A reunion prototype drawing

I stretched out for this show, quite literally, and made some long drawings on Tyvek with my upright drawing table.  I had a few false starts, and I think I’ve come up with some improvements for version 2.0 of this table, but I love this process and the results.

All these drawings are on Tyvek. Here are a few process shots:

Tree

Pine Island

4 Horsemen Legs

The four horsemen

At the time of this writing, I’m almost finished with the installation and prep for the show.

Here are some process shots of the installation. Many, many thanks to my daughter Lily for being patient with me, as several weekends and many evenings were lost to hours of art making. She even helped  with touching things up. And, most of all, thanks to Nicole for her collaborative approach to this show, for also being patient and flexible, and for her help with the installation. I am excited about the results, and have grown as an artist this summer. Thank you, both – I look forward to working with you in the future on new projects!

ND

20' of Tyvek

Leezle and my horsemen

Leezle Touching up

Pine Island, pre-install