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June 13-19, 2007

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Viewing Artists

'Art City' documentary eyes creative passion

By Patricia Lynn Henley

The third in a trilogy of films intimately exploring the lives of modern artists, Art City: A Ruling Passion will be shown Thursday, June 14, as a benefit for the Petaluma Arts Council's capital campaign to build an arts center. "These are some of the most interesting art films I've seen in a long time," says Petaluma Arts Council board member Edwin Hamilton. He's hopeful that Ruling Passion will attract an audience from throughout the North Bay. "This is a really important film for anyone who is interested in art," Hamilton asserts.

Filmmaker Chris Maybach will attend the screening, followed by a reception in his honor. A resident of San Francisco, Maybach worked for 20 years as a film editor in Los Angeles and San Francisco before branching out into making documentaries. Fascinated by oil paintings and the process of creating something out of nothing, Maybach focused on the inspirations, aesthetic issues and lifestyles of modern artists including such as Louise Bourgeois (shown above in a magnificent Herb Ritts portrait), Ed Ruscha, Elizabeth Peyton and others.

Released in 1996, Art City: Making It in Manhattan visits New York City lofts, studios and galleries of intimate scenes with artists. That was followed by Art City: Simplicity and Art City: A Ruling Passion, which were filmed simultaneously nationwide and then edited into two separate films. "That way you get to spend more time with the artists," Maybach explains. "You really kind of get to know them."

A Ruling Passion focuses on intense personalities who have used their art to explore the emotional impact or dark humor of psychological truths. The film examines universal issues such as community, motivation, controversy, finding one's audience and just "getting it right." Maybach also created the 2005 documentary Richard Tuttle: Never Not an Artist for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is currently working on a feature film about a drifter who returns home, to be filmed in Sonoma and Napa counties.

Art City is slated for Thursday, June 14, at Boulevard Cinemas, Petaluma Boulevard at C Street, Petaluma. 7pm. $12. Reception at the Barry Singer Gallery follows, 7 Western Ave., Petaluma. 707.766.5200.

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