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Frances

Anthea  Slade

Carlton North, Australia

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Frances featured in Art Universe 31 October 2011

Frances featured in Shameless Self Promotion 21 August 2011

Frances featured in All Out Emotion 21 August 2011

Frances was drawn with acrylic, ink, watercolour pencils (mixed media) 21 August 2011

Frances is the 9th of my Top 10 Movie Series

Frances is a movie based on a true story of the brilliant and beautiful actress Frances Farmer who lead a successful stage and film career in the 1930’s and 1940’s in Seatle, Hollywood and New York. Frances was strong willed, independent, potently insightful, hyper sensitive and possessed an emotional intensity that lead her to be misunderstood and mistreated by her movie company in Hollywood and her mother. Her emotional and mental intensity was met with such resistance that her controlling stage mother committed her to a mental institution three times resulting in Frances been given a labotamy. A procedure that destroyed her passion, fire and creativity and cut intense emotions out of her brain forever.

The movie Frances belongs to Jessica Lange who embodies and literally becomes Frances Farmer. She gives a convincing powerhouse performance. Her support Sam Shephard (her life long friend who loves her) and Kim Stanley (her mother) give strong acting performances. The film was directed by Graeme Glifford.

Frances is also featured in poem Insane or Wired or Brilliant? written in 2009.

Insane or Wired or Brilliant?

Brilliant Plath disappeared in her Bell Jar
Intense Vincent Van Gogh was labelled insane
And when he cut off his ear they cried he had gone too far
They cut poor Frances Farmers emotion out of her brain
And made her placid benign boring and dull
Angelina was considered already dead
Vulnerable girl interrupted accused of a lull
Her hurt was cold but her blood was red.

Insanity was thrown in my face at 17
When the high school boys shouted
My favourite artist Van Gogh was insane…
‘He is not’…I found my voice
‘He is sensitive, passionate, intense,
misunderstood…and Don Mclean had
it right on that Starry Starry Night
He took his life as Lovers often do…
I could have told you Vincent this world
Was never meant for one as
Beautiful as you.

Ah the eternal debate…
There is a fine line between
genius and insanity…they say
and how closely do we step the tight rope
With so much mental illness today
Exposed…Depression, Anxiety,
Bi-polar…Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder…A mental health professional
recently advised that 9 out of 10 have
a mental health issue.
Are so few exempt…are these figures really true?

With so much stimulation in the media, mobile, data
Sensory overload with iPods linked to our brain
Texting 24/7 with our mobiles we sleep instead of our lovers
Is the cyborg fantasy becoming a reality…?
in this wired generation?
Constantly on…we must be or we miss out…
We become fed by instant gratification
and stimulated by virtual admiration.
Addiction to this constant contact means that our
heads are overloaded with stimulus but
not given as much time to reflect, to think, to feel.

We are becoming overdeveloped in responding to stimulus
and underdeveloped in knowing our own heart.
Strangers and outcast to our own feelings
Dependent on the hit and the high of the new
and losing sight of the bravery of the subtle and simple.
Craving perfection and the eradication of foibles
we photoshop out our character lines and faults
so that we fit into some kind of ideal of the neo post notion of beauty.

Are not faults far more defining then some sanitised notion of perfection?
Are not our faults the real indicators of our individuality?
Is not our vulnerability a sign of our sanity?
Does not our sensitivity reveal that we still belong to humanity?
Taking time to celebrate and know the individual in their idiosyncrasies
Surely this is worth the effort rather then striving for some standard of
fantasy that can never be translated?

I shudder when I think where we are headed
Man machine…woman machine…cyborgs half man half machine
I pray that disposable people, relationships that end with a click
of the key and people racing to rejection will never be the accepted.
And that the human mind, heart and soul will pause…think and
move the emotional muscle so that sensitivity can still survive
and link us together through heart and mind
right through to the end of time.

So Vincent, Sylvia, Frances, Angelina and Girl Interrupted
Insanity does not seem to be able to define,
What really was going on in your mind,
As far as I can tell…you all could see, think and feel,
Oh that you suffered and were misunderstood
This cannot be denied but you were
real raw and achingly human in your pain
and there was no question of your humanity
Even if there was and still is a question over your sanity.

To me you were brilliant, free, sensitive and intense
And by all indicators ahead of your time.
And I bow to your courage
to follow your own voice and live the
passion that was raw in your heart…
To me it is as if you just knew right from the start.

© Anthea Slade 2009

Artwork Comments

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