Visual arts play a part in many movies, according to Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission Executive Director Kristen Schlotman.  Hollywood producers have shot movies, such as Carol, Old Man and the Gun, Marauders, Reprisal and Gotti, here.  Most recently is Dry Run, filmed here in early 2019.

Dry Run is based on a legal case involving DuPont and environmental safety.  West Virginia farmer Wilbur Tennant called environmental lawyer Robert A. Bilott twenty years ago because his cattle were dying.  He thought that water coming from a neighboring landfill owned by chemical giant DuPont was to blame. Bilott, of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, took the case about DuPont’s use of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, in the water and its probable link to diseases in animals and humans.

Assistant Set Decorator of Beta Productions Sarah Young, a Cincinnatian, contacted Hausrath on January 24 about paintings by Lisa Molyneux which she found on the Cincinnati Art Galleries website.  Young thought her environmental paintings matched the nature of the lawsuit and chose three of them, oil on canvas, 48 x 60. Titles are After the Storm, a Canadian inspiration; End of Summer, inspired by Ontario and Forest Entry, a reference to a British movie about witches. Young rented these three paintings for two weeks.  Young returned to Cincinnati Art Galleries and rented paintings by Jens Jensen, Cindy Walton, Avie Bedinger and Valerie Shesko.  The artwork of Shesko and Molyneux appear in “The Sublime:  Romantic Landscapes”, which opened at CAG on March l.

She decided the paintings would work well in the conference room of a local firm located at Fifth and Vine Streets.  Hausrath and Molyneux worked to get the paintings framed by Chip Doyle, curator of the Charley Harper estate, and ready for the shoot.  Hausrath wanted to make the process seamless.

Molyneux said, “I was excited.  I didn’t know what the movie was.”  It is the first time any of her paintings has appeared in a movie.  Her paintings dovetail with the film’s needs:  they are soft, moody and feature forest scenes.

“It’s neat that one of our artists will be in the movie,” said Hausrath.  “It is a nice coup for the gallery and for Lisa.”  A local painter and gallery appear in a movie with star power destined to hit the national screen.

Aeqai Editor Daniel Brown said, “Lisa Molyneux is one of Greater Cincinnati’s finest and most talented painters.  She paints romantic landscapes, in which mists, swamps, lakes, streams, fog and sometimes mountains appear; they are based upon scenery in upstate New York and Canada.”

“Reducing the visual information in her work to the bare minimum of painterly landscape elements, based upon deep greens as her primary color, Molyneux’s paintings may be said to be a contemporary interpretation of The Hudson River Valley School of American painters, who expressed deep awe at the grandeur of the American landscape.  Her paintings, thus, are contemporary evocations of The Sublime.  They remind us of the purity of the landscape in America, and thus become important environmental statements in today’s contemporary’s landscape of painting/political issues.”

“Her paintings are, thus, Expressionist, meant to induce strong emotion in the viewer, and that longing for beauty which has a distinguished history in American painting,” said Brown.

Bilott’s work has won awards, including the international Alternative Nobel prize and an honorary Right Livelihood Award in 2018 for exposing “a decades-long history of chemical pollution… and setting a precedent for effective regulation on hazardous substances.”

Stars include Anne Hathaway and Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bilott.  Ruffalo won Oscars for Foxcatcher and Spotlight.  He won a Screen Actors Guild award for The Normal Heat.  His co-star is Anne Hathaway who plays Ruffalo’s wife, Sarah.  She won an Academy Award for Les Miserables.  Tim Robbins will play Wilbur Tennant, the West Virginia farmer.  He won an Oscar for Mystic River.  Robbins stopped in Cincinnati Art Galleries on February 10, much to the delight and surprise of the staff.

Dry Run Director Todd Haynes also filmed Carol starring Cate Blanchett in 2014 in Cincinnati.

–Laura A. Hobson

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