Private View: Friday 15th July 2016
16th July—30th July 2016
Maria Farrar, Mussels, 2016, Oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
Maria Farrar’s paintings weave together classical themes of Eastern and Western visual language in a way that escapes simple definition. Coming from a diverse art education that included the study of calligraphy, manga, old masters, the nude and observational drawing, Farrar juxtaposes the weightiness of erudite subject matter with a stylized, light-hearted form. Her paintings are characterised by gestural marks, swooshes and blocks of colour. At times they hint at the softness of Japanese paper, with which she is acutely familiar, or the dream-like recollections of scenes from her childhood in Japan. Her paintings often return to a certain palette, their colour schemes alluding to an exchange of cultural history in a similar way that her mark-making refers back to calligraphy. The surfaces of the works become personal or autobiographical, through an aesthetic sense informed by her myriad learned traditions.
Farrar’s practice involves a process of moving between personal experiences to the more ubiquitous, of taking occurrences and narrative from the outside world into the studio as written or drawn ideas. Singular objects are extracted from her everyday reality, a table, a window, fish, or a market scene and used in isolation in the paintings to refer to general impressions of indulgence, luxury, loneliness and secrecy. She is responsive to the components of the composition and allows for spontaneity in her decisions, thus the surface of her paintings are often treated unevenly, allowing the textures of reality to be shaped by the nature of the tools and of the medium.
The paintings present imagery that is on the edge of disintegrating into abstraction, yet they always retain a firm sense of figuration. Farrar treats representation with an approach comparable to the development of written Kanji (Japanese writing using Chinese characters), where an observed thing is represented and its illustration is gradually eradicated, becoming a sign that communicates a specific meaning in its form. In this way her gestural drawing translates the sensible into line and form, imitating the way in which a thing in itself may appear or feel. The results are paintings that are both familiar and unfamiliar, both exotic and intimate.
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Maria Farrar (b. 1988, Philippines Lives and works in London, UK) received her MFA in Painting from the Slade School of Art, UCL (2014 – 2016), and her BFA in Fine Art from the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University (2009 – 2012). Selected recent exhibitions include Curious Struggle: Tim Patrick & Maria Farrar, Arthouse1, London; Maria Farrar (solo exhibition), Philippine Embassy, London (both 2014). In 2016 Farrar was awarded the Derek Hill Foundation scholarship at the British School in Rome.
Maria Farrar, Balcony, 2016, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
Maria Farrar, Nude, 2016, oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm
Maria Farrar, Urchin, 2016, oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm
Maria Farrar, Sailor, 2016, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
Maria Farrar, Mussels, 2016, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
Maria Farrar, Market, 2016, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
Maria Farrar, Table, 2016, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm