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JOHN BORDEN EVANS

A SEASON IN THE LIFE OF JBE

Rita Dove

The old farmhouses and surrounding rural areas of North Garden, Virginia, obviously influence the subject matter of John Borden Evans' paintings. In his thickly painted works, Evans depicts rural landscapes and animals, creating texture through build-up and scrape-away techniques. Evans has exhibited at the Chrysler Museum, the Virginia Museum, and the Arlington Arts Center, as well as in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Washington, DC, galleries.

John Borden Evans works year-round in his atelier in North Garden, Va., where we discussed for the first time the idea of a documentary film about his work. The initial concept was to expose his work from the perspective of four seasons, and we started production last autumn. However, the following winter, I knew the film would be all about cold, snow, isolation, and life on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. "White" is about an artist and a way of life; a farm in Virginia, food, love, water, trees, and the relentless relationship between time and oneself. Moreover, "White" is a film about an artist named John Borden Evans. HD | 30 minutes. English. Available from Kanopy Streaming and Alexander Street Press.

"White: A Season in the Life of John Borden Evans is a close look at an intriguing couple who chartered their course and made you envious." - Julian Bond | Washington, DC

 

"The whole thing is so skillfully woven together -- John's quiet voice, silence, and the music. It creates a wonderful, wondering mood. The stars. and the cows. and trees." - Alice Parker | Composer

"The treatment of each scene mirrors the austere choice of monastic life in accord with the silence of art and its spirituality. The cautiously crafted composition and the sensible use of light blend film and theme. I felt the hard work, firm abundant and severe work which makes the film a work of art in itself, a work of art within a work of art "Eugenio Cuttica | New York City

"The cinematography is stunning. The notion that the cinematographer can compose an artwork that includes the painting, the artist, and the artist's life is compelling. It sets you an artistic goal different from the artist and challenges you to balance your eye (and ear) against his so the audience can assess your achievement. The artist we hear has a very simple voice; at the beginning, it's impossible to know where this simplicity comes from, but in the end, I think we see simplicity as a choice, especially if we know that his wife makes clothes for Tom Wolfe. So in that arc, the voice changes from the beginning to the end because we start to hear it differently. By reaching beyond the artwork to the life, Montes-Bradley also enables the viewer to consider what of the artist's life gets into the art and what doesn't—so you are questioning formalist approaches to art without neglecting form. There's more to be said about simplicity, about the paring down, paring down to spiritual essence, and the director´s use of the shape-note singing keeps that theme alive as the film progresses. The color? Against white, the art, the scenes from South America, and the hats. This one is best, I think, of the Montes-Bradley´s that I've seen, not a wasted frame." - Jeffrey Plank | UVA

"My first impression is BRAVO, and my second is superb. Your camera work is exquisite, and I felt you captured something important about John and Beth-Neville. I'm looking forward to seeing the film about the next person you chose to profile."  David A. Maurer | The Daily Progress

AWARDS

Best Documentary, Richmond International Film Festival 2015

Best Documentary, International Documentary Festival of Ierapetra, 2015

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