For release: September 30, 2008
For press information, contact Teri L. Sullivan, 901-325-6518
WKNO Channel 10, the PBS affiliate in Memphis, will present a new two-hour documentary
that chronicles the life and works of arguably the greatest American painter of his
time – Winslow Homer. The result of six years’ work by award-winning writer, producer,
director, and University of Memphis professor Steven John Ross, Winslow Homer: Society and Solitude premieres Thursday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m.
Steven John Ross
The film chronicles Homer’s artistic evolution, while also telling the story of a
man who, in his youth, lived in the midst of a lively and cosmopolitan New York City
art scene, but who gradually withdrew from public life. His work both as an illustrator
for Harper’s Weeklyand as a painter reveals an enormous amount of insight into American life from before
the outbreak of the Civil War, through the war itself, and in postwar America up to
In his mid-40s, Homer left America and lived alone in a small English fishing village
for more than a year. When he returned, he built a studio residence on a cliff overlooking
the ocean in Maine and lived there for the rest of his life. By the time of his death
in 1910, he was mythologized as the great recluse of American art.
Steven John Ross is a professor in the Department of Communication at the U of M;
his earlier, critically acclaimed works include Oh Freedom After While!, Black Diamonds, Blues City, and At the River I Stand. The Homer film, recipient of the Juried Award for Artistic Achievement at the 2007
University Film and Video Association Annual Conference, has had many invitational
screenings at major museums across the country.
“Homer’s work is so easy to like at first glance that many people don’t bother to
give it a closer look,” said Ross. “But when you do look closer, I mean, really look
closer, the paintings reveal layers of meaning and layers of sheer artistic brilliance
that can blow you away.”
WKNO is presenting Winslow Homer: Society and Solitude to public television stations across the country through American Public Television.
The broadcast is sponsored locally by The Dixon Gallery and Gardens and by the U of
M College of Communication and Fine Arts.