Michael Mize Art Blog
Through an interesting sequence of events, Marla's work began receiving national attention, both on television and in print media, as well as selling in galleries for several thousands of dollars. Eventually though, a 60 Minuntes piece on the family began a frenzy of rumors suggesting that her father was somehow involved in the production of the work, either through coaching or directly painting on the canvases as well. The sales of her work immediately ceased. The family did reciprocate by providing video footage of Marla working on a painting from start to finish over several weeks time. Marla, now six years old, continues to paint and exhibit with her work now fetching prices in the tens of thousands.
The film is exciting, disheartening and thought-provoking all at the same time. Seeing such a young child work with such consideration is really intriguing. However, watching someone being taken apart by the media at such a tender age is more than a litle alarming.
It raises a lot of compelling questions about the nature of art as well. There is a widely held belief that abstract art is somewhat of a con. Paintings that appear they could have been produced by children selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars incite a lot of art lovers. Yet here you have work that actually was produced by a child, and then a resulting controversy swirling around the validity of that claim. It's nearly an oxymoron. Were people engaged by the work becuase of its visual merit or because it was done by a four year old. Is the work any less stunning visually if it was not done entirely by the hands of a four year old? And since when is the age of the artist significant when considering a painting aesthectically? The film inherently presents these questions, and then leaves you to answer them for yourself.
It is really an interesting movie and I'd highly recommend giving it a look.