Melinda Camber Porter

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Melinda Camber Porter
Born Melinda Camber
(1953-09-18)18 September 1953
London, England
Died 9 October 2008(2008-10-09) (aged 55)
Sag Harbor, NY
Nationality British
Known for Painting, Journalism, Novelist, Poet
Movement Modernism

Melinda Camber Porter (18 September 1953 – 9 October 2008)[1] was an artist, author, poet, journalist and filmmaker. Porter was a modernist who worked in oils, watercolor and ink. She was known for combining the mediums of film, painting and writing.

Her works have been shown at The School of Visual Arts in New York, Oxford University, the Embassy of France, La Maison Francaise and Lincoln Center’s Clark Theatre. Her paintings, poetry and films have been critically well received. Porter was modest and kept a low profile, preferring to focus on her family and art.

As a journalist, Porter interviewed renowned writers, artists and filmmakers of the past several decades for The Times. Several of her interview subjects became lifelong friends, including filmmakers Louis Malle and Wim Wenders.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Melinda Camber was born on 18 September 1953 in London.[1] Porter was raised on Wimpole Street, in the house used in the film My Fair Lady.

Her father was a psychoanalyst who kept his offices in the family home in the center of London’s medical district. From early on, Porter was exposed to the arts, frequenting the National Gallery, and immersing herself in drawing and painting. At age 6, she was given William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience which would later influence her visual style of writing.

Porter’s elementary education was at the City of London School for Girls. In her junior year, she was awarded scholarships to both Oxford and Cambridge. In honor of this, the school granted the students a day off, a privilege normally reserved only for the death of royalty. She chose Oxford and earned a First Class Honours degree in Modern Languages (French and Latin), graduating from Lady Margaret Hall in 1974. After graduation, she married John Robert Camber Porter in Paris.[citation needed]

The young couple lived on the Quai Voltaire overlooking the Louvre. The marriage ended after five years and Porter relocated to New York in 1982, settling at the Hotel Des Artistes, where she would maintain residence for the remainder of her life.

Family Life[edit]

Porter married her second husband, Joseph Flicek,[2] on 2 July 1985 in his native South Dakota and honeymooned in China.[citation needed] She based a series of paintings and the novel Floating Boundary on the trip to China. Frequent visits with Flicek’s family in South Dakota, led to her novel, Badlands.

The couple divided their time between Manhattan and Sag Harbor. Porter and Flicek had two sons. After Porter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the family took up permanent residence in Sag Harbor for her convalescence. Porter died on 9 October 2008 at the age of 55.

Early career[edit]

While in Paris, Porter was a French cultural correspondent for The Times. She interviewed many notable figures including François Truffaut and Louis Malle.[2][3] Porter also profiled directors Mike Nichols and Ingmar Bergman. A number of these interviews became part of her book, Through Parisian Eyes: Reflections on Contemporary French Arts and Culture.[2]

Over her career with The Times, Porter interviewed personalities from film, literature, theater and human rights from around the world. Before meeting Saul Bellow, she read his twenty books in just thirty days and prior to interviewing directors, she would watch each of their films.

Publications[edit]

Non-Fiction[edit]

  • Through Parisian Eyes: Reflections on Contemporary French Arts and Culture[2] (pub. 1986)
  • Art of Love: Love Poems and Paintings (pub. 1993)[2]
  • The Arousal of Nature (pub. 2004)
  • Visions on Film: Portraits of Leading Contemporary Film Directors (pub. 2009)
  • William Blake Illuminates the Works of Melinda Camber Porter (pub. 2006)

Novels[edit]

  • Frank – forward by Saul Bellow
  • Boat Child: A Comedy (pub. 1994)
  • Badlands (pub. 1996)[2] Book of the Month Club selection
  • Imogen
  • Floating Boundary – Book One: Hong Kong
  • Floating Boundary – Book Two: China Arrives
  • Floating Boundary – Book Three: Freedom or Tyranny
  • Child of the Western World

Stageplays[edit]

  • Journey to Benares’ A Rock Opera (perf. Asia Society Museum, NY)
  • Night Angel (perf. Lincoln Center’s Clark Theater)
  • Boat Child (perf. Denver Center for the Performing Arts)

Documentary Films[edit]

  • Vision on Film: Michael Apted (shorts I and II)
  • Luminous Journey (short)
  • The Art of Love: Paintings and Writings of Melinda Camber Porter (public television program 1994-1998)
  • Sacred Journey (television – Vision Television and APTN Canada 2001-2004)
  • Joyce Beroneo on Photography
  • The Kitchen (Paris in the 1970s)

Unfinished Works[edit]

  • Martin Scorsese – Visions on Film (documentary feature)
  • Michael Apted – Visions on Film (documentary feature)
  • Wim Wenders – Visions on Film (documentary feature)
  • Recuperation Series – watercolors, oils, poetry
  • A New Cosmology in Modern Art: Melinda Camber Porter (biography on the artist)

Following Porter's death in 2008, her husband Joe Flicek organised an informal advisory committee, to help organise and publish her work.[4]

Public Exhibitions[edit]

  • British Consulate New York – A Retrospective of Ms. Porter’s Art and Literature – 2006
  • School of Visual Arts New York – Because of William Blake a New Art -2006
  • Paul Labrecque Salons New York – The Art of Horses and Lovers – 2005
  • Walter Wickiser Gallery New York – The Arousal of Nature – 2005
  • Art for Healing Gallery New York – The Art of Healing – 2005
  • Oxford University UK – William Blake Illuminates Ms. Porter’s Works (lecture by Robin Hamlyn, Senior curator of prints and drawings for Tate Museum) – 2004
  • Asia Society and Museum New York – Journey to Benares, a Rock Opera – 2003
  • Southampton College Southampton, NY – Native America Spirituality – 1999
  • The Nicolaysen Art Museum Casper WY – Art of Horses and Lovers – 1997
  • The Sioux Falls Civic Fine Arts Center SD – Badlands, Horses and Lovers – 1996 [2]
  • The Salon Des Artistes New York – The Film Censor’s Step-Daughter – 1996
  • The Foothills Art Center Golden, CO – Badlands, Horses and Lovers – 1996
  • Lincoln Center New York – Night Angel, a One-Woman Musical – 1996
  • The West Hartford Art League – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1995
  • L’Alliance Française de New Orleans – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1995
  • The Embassy of France Washington DC – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1994
  • L’Alliance Française de Miami – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1994
  • L’Alliance Française de San Francisco – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1994
  • L’Alliance Française de Houston – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1994
  • L’Alliance Française de Chicago – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1994
  • The French Library in Boston – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature -1994
  • National Theatre Conservatory of the Denver – Boat Child, a Comedy – 1993
  • The French Cultural Embassy New York – Ms. Porter’s French Art, Film & Literature – 1993

Critical Praise[edit]

Below are some reviews from prominent publications.

  • The New York Times – “The subject of the sensual—what a human being can experience through the physical self and the senses, and the profound effect of that experience is at the heart of Ms. Camber Porter's output as both an artist and writer. . . This painter-novelist draws a line between erotic and obscene."[this quote needs a citation]
  • The New York Times – “Sensuality is at the heart of Porter's work. Badlands is a narrative with a weighty sensuality.”[this quote needs a citation]
  • San Francisco Chronicle – "For those passionate about French arts and culture, Melinda Camber Porter's Through Parisian Eyes is like a daylong trip to the candy store. Porter's eclectic gathering provides an area of interest for almost every palate. A well-rounded, intelligent look at the contemporary Parisian spirit."[this quote needs a citation]
  • Boston Sunday Globe – "Through Parisian Eyes is a particularly readable and brilliantly compiled collection. The voices of French intellectuals mingle in this uniquely constructed volume of interviews and commentary."[this quote needs a citation]
  • Philadelphia Inquirer – "Through Parisian Eyes is an inviting opportunity to tap into Paris' thinking... thanks to Porter's willingness to listen well and challenge when necessary."[this quote needs a citation]

Personal life[edit]

For over 25 years Porter lived at the Hotel Des Artistes in New York City. She raised two children, James and Robert.[4] She married Joseph Flicek.

After a prolonged battle with ovarian cancer, Porter died aged 55 at the family home in Sag Harbor, New York where she had been living for two years.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Melinda Camber Porter, 1953 - 2008, New York Women in Film & Television. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kreahling, Lorraine (June 23, 1996). "A Painter-Novelist Draws a Line Between Erotic and Obscene". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  3. ^ "Melinda Camber Porter: arts journalist and cultural critic". The Times (London). October 20, 2008.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c Hinckle, Annette (September 29, 2010). "Through the Eyes of an Artist: Remembering Melinda Camber Porter". The Sag Harbour Express. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 

3. Lascu, Marie (October 15, 2012). "Melinda Camber Porter Archives Media Assessment Master Thesis". New York University.