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JOYCE WIELAND The Passionate Directoress INTRODUCTION What attracted me the most to the works of Joyce Wieland is how theyre reminiscent of the popular TV show The Simpsons critiquing the problems of a nation in such a witty and ready-to-swallow form Yet it was this feminist punch that underlay these political advocations throughout her films that truly struck the apple of my eye A painter sculptor quilt-maker and film-maker Toronto-born-and-raised Wieland was the first female artist to challenge the male-dominated art world of the 50s and 60s eventually becoming one of the countrys most productive and acclaimed artists the first female ever to be recognized with a solo exhibit at the National Gallery during her lifetime Having suffered an unfortunate childhood---she was 7 when her father died and 10 when she lost her mother -her art was surprisingly joyous but not without an irreverent edge As an experimental film-maker Wieland was a ceaseless innovator In 1963 Wieland moved to New York City to join the Structuralist filmmakers and there she lived an unconventional life with her husband the well-known artist Michael Snow making experimental films In Rat Life and Diet in North America 1968 she cast her pet gerbils as American draft dodgers who take up organic gardening And although The Far Shore 1976--her attempt to make a mainstream drama about love and landscape--failed it continues to fascinate even after her death in 1998 due to its contradictory nature as are her other films Theres been talk about her work being either structuralist or feminist an argument served quite right during the pre-feminist period whence these articles were written as her films only subtly gave the sense of feminist punch a womans cry veiled by parody But to recent critics it is obvious that she had indeed feminist intentions some even seem to accuse her of being too soft a feminist--in todays light she can well be a liberal feminist Yet non have come
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