“In a world where reason is the goal, I believe that art is the release from reason” -Arthur Polonsky
Enter the fantastic worlds of Arthur Polonsky in a documentary currently in production by his son, Emmy nominated Director Gabriel Polonsky.
Arthur’s mystical art defined him as “one of the most important Boston painters of the 20th century.” His talents led him from Lynn, MA to the booming art scene of post WWll Paris, acclaimed international shows, and a feature in LIFE Magazine. He played a major role in the Boston Expressionist movement (a title he ironically rejects). In fact, this is one of only a few films to cover this historic yet unheralded era in American art – as told through Arthur’s first hand accounts and 30 interviews with leaders of the Boston art community.
Yet Release from Reason is not a typical ‘PBS’ documentary. At age 90 Arthur lights up the screen with his brilliance humor and eccentricity – still painting day and night in his art filled, ramshackle ‘Grey Gardens’ Victorian house. Through breathtaking art and intimate cinema verite footage, the film brings to life his journey to renowned young artist, relative obscurity, and reemergence in his 80′s with major shows. It explores his unusual artistic process and unconventional family of artists. It is the remarkable story of a life devoted to art -at all costs- for 75 years, and the mysterious forces that fuel creativity.
“He brings to his work a mystical, mysterious inner life.” -Barbara Swan, Artist
“He can give logic to a dream.” -Katherine French, Director, Danforth Museum
“Our father is irrational but he’s a genius.” -DL Polonsky, Artist
“He integrated philosophy observation and aesthetics into one great adventure.” -Rusty Crump, former student
WHY THIS FILM NOW?
Arthur has been a major force behind the Boston Expressionist movement since it began at the Museum School in the 1940’s. The movement gained national recognition yet it was overshadowed by New York Abstract Expressionism and never reached its due. Arthur saved every news clipping and photo about his career, his fellow artists, and Boston’s art history in the 20th century – his house is a virtual museum. With his fascinating first-hand accounts and 30 interviews with leaders of the Boston art world, Release From Reason is one of only a few films ever to cover this historic era in American art. It is a story that needs to be told.
For decades the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has neglected the Boston Expressionists (their own alumni) until recently. Thankfully they are starting to exhibit their work in the new American Art Wing, as are other museums and galleries. Many arts organizations that I speak with from the Smithsonian to the Boston MFA are interested in screening the completed film. We also plan to screen it on PBS, in theaters, and university art departments nationwide.
I am grateful for the time spent with my father though the making of this film, and to finally understand his life-long journey as an immensely influential artist. I look forward to sharing his legacy with generations to come.
We could never have come this far without our amazing supporters. Right now the film is at a crucial point. We are currently raising funds to hire a top-notch post-production team to turn all the raw footage into a 1.5 hour finished film. Please consider joining our growing list of supporters with a tax-deducible donation by clicking HERE.
Thank you! – Gabriel Polonsky