Filmmaker, artist Perkins to visit

Writer, artist, outdoorsman and filmmaker Robert Perkins will speak at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Bell Auditorium Hewitt Union. His film “Talking to Angels” will screen at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in Room 107 of Lanigan Hall on campus.

The Harvard-educated Perkins has made a living as a Renaissance man. In addition to being a documentary filmmaker, he has written five books and exhibited his paintings nationwide. He has canoed extensively in Canada’s Barrenlands, including a 72-day, 700-mile trek alone down the Back River. Much of his work is dedicated to chronicling his adventures as an outdoorsman.

“To me, science stands mute at the threshold where my questions begin,” Perkins wrote in his 1989 book “Into the Great Solitude.” “These inarticulate questions, and Nature, slip gracefully between the facts—like a wild animal, whose foreknowledge of your presence allows it to melt quietly away without being perceived.”

Perkins was hospitalized for psychotic breaks at 19 and 36. His survival story, linked inexorably to his experiences in the wild, will be addressed in his lecture, as will the healing power of solitude.
“Solitude is the deepest well I have ever come across,” he once said in an interview. “I imagine it would be different if solitude was forced on you, but to choose it is to find a source of sustenance that never runs out. . . . You begin to listen to what is around you and to what is going on inside of you.”
In 1993, Perkins filmed “Talking to Angels” in his home and in the Canadian Arctic. The film follows the journey he shares with his girlfriend, Dr. Irene Goodale, as she confronts breast cancer. It is a story of hope, love and courage in the face of adversity.

“Robert Perkins is one of those rare filmmakers not afraid to use his own experience to inform his sensibilities as he looks for meaning in the world around him,” said documentary filmmaker Robert Gardner.

Perkins’ visit is part of the Arts and Psychology series, an interdisciplinary initiative to bring artists, guest lecturers and filmmakers whose work explores the blending of creation and cognition to campus.

Both the lecture and the film screening are free and open to the public, thanks to sponsorship by the college’s Artswego Performing Arts Series and Arts Across the Curriculum.

Perkins will also visit SUNY Oswego classrooms Nov. 9 and 10.

For more information, call the Artswego office at 312-4581.

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(Posted: Oct 19, 2005)