Garry Shead is one of Australia’s most famous and acclaimed lyrical figurative expressionist artists, the winner of the Archibald Prize for Portraiture and the Dobell Prize for Drawing. The reason why he is so acclaimed is because he manages to convey a unique sense of pictorial magic through which we are given privileged access to a world which is both tangible and real, but also has the quality of otherness – that of the waking dream and of the quiet revelation - where we feel and see visual truths which can only be revealed through art.
His experimental films are less well known than his paintings and prints yet stretch throughout his entire career over the past five decades. As a child at school he found refuge in art and by chance discovered a copy of a book by Eisenstein on filmmaking in the school art library. The book was a profound inspiration. While at a school cadet camp in 1958, he went to a screening of a film by Rene Clair and later recalled ‘Even with the heckling and booing of the other school boys, I had never seen anything so miraculous in my life, this film made me realise that film is art and not the simplified stuff that I had grown up on.
(Sasha Grishin, AM, FAHA The Sir William Dobell Professor of Art History Australian National University)
The films represent a journey through Garry Shead’s life, one which reflects a serene beauty, a profound lyricism and the ability to celebrate the joy of life and of love.
Disc 1 Early Heroes
Four Eyes The Fastest Gun (1967) 16mm 10min
Fanta (1972) 16mm 10min
The Stringybark Massacre (pilot for proposed Ned Kelly film) (1967) 16mm 10min
De Da De Dum (1968) 16mm 20min
Disc 2 Precursive Films
Purple Prelude (1966) 16mm 8min
The Film (1966-67) 16mm 12min
Prelude In A minor (1967) 16mm 5minInitiation (1971) 16mm 20min
Initiation (1971) 16mm 20min
Live Evil Revelation - (Live Between Evil 1969) 16mm 20min
Disc 3 A film Journal
Ding A Ding Day (1961-1966) 16mm 10min
Paris Is… (1972) 16mm 20min
The Card (1989) 16mm (colour) 20min
The Flesh Wheelbarrow (2006) Digital 20min
"Important members of these mostly mad experiments with the magic alchemy that seemed to occur when movie cameras were aimed in the direction of human beings" (Garry Shead):
Ann Woodham, John Firth Smith, Ned McCann, Mike Pearce, David Stiven, Gavin Wilson, Brett Whiteley, Wendy Whiteley Peter Kingston, Michael Hobbs, John Delacour, Rob Inglis, Gary Shearston, Alex Hood, David Perry, Aggy Read, Pip Proud, Allyson Burns, Martin Sharp, Judy Firth Smith, Albie Thoms, Ian Van Wieringen, Sally Bruce, Gordon & Nora Shead, Boyzie, David Sargent, Jeff Doring, Sue Howe, Sue Doring, John Thiry, Black Allan, Gary Catalano, Richard Weight, Sue Woods, Sue Cornwell, John Crothers, Anou Kiesler, Tina Kaufman, Rosemary Jaynes, Phillip Cox, Richard Cutler, Richard Dunn, Sophie Klarwein, Tim Burns, Lindsay Smith, Istvan Balint, Rebecca Balint, Lilla Shead, Luke Scibberas, Stella Scibberas, Dione Roach, Steve Culley, Adam Rish, Alex Rish, Judit Shead, Gria Shead, Sally King, Kim Deacon, Lino Alvarez, Joeline Shead, Belinda Allen, Michael Ramsden, Mandy Wright, Jeff & Fran Barker, Paul Greenaway, Michelle Doake, Edmund Capon, Simon Phillips & Caroline Burns.
Cinemaphotographers: Philip Atkin, Roger Whittaker, Ian Stocks, Quentin Masters, David Perry, Mike Pearce, Jack Bellamy, Vick Sarin, Stefan Sargent, Mischa Baka, Tim Cole.
Music: Jeff Doring, Elena Kats Chernin, Phillipa Gissing, Ted Markstein, Kim Deacon. Producers: Michael Hobbs, Paul Stookey, Kym Bonython. Editors Wal Wallis, David Stiven.
REBECCA BAILLIE: It's a celluloid treasure-trove featuring a who's who of Australia's contemporary art scene.
MARTIN SHARP: Garry was a wonderful filmmaker. He was really like a pioneer. We could say there was a new wave, he was the first ripples of it.
WENDY WHITELEY: Historically, they're very important that they're actually on film otherwise it's just everybody's memories and I think we all kind of look from our own perspective and through our own eyes so we've all got different takes on these things.
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