Sunset Blvd. IV
Oil on canvas
18 by 12 inches
September 8- October 19, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 8, 6-8pm
Gallery KM is thrilled to open our inaugural season with Relay, the first solo show of paintings by Los Angeles artist Rebecca Farr.
The exhibit features 21 oil paintings on wood, canvas and paper. Conceived through the artist’s observations of Los Angeles and Tokyo, the images catch and frame moments of unconscious intimacy between individuals and the urban architecture that supports them.
In LA and Tokyo, we have two cities that differ vastly in their understanding and experience of transit, in the directed movement of people across landscape. Yet, in Farr’s paintings, the dominant feeling is one of commonality. A young woman in LA with bare legs—particularly vulnerable in appearance given the implied slow movement of her gait—looks just as lonely, just as passively seeking, as her swiftly moving Tokyo counterpart (whose physicality is no less embodied or vulnerable despite being covered in cold-weather clothing and partially obscured by her umbrella).
Identity is dressed and redressed in these paintings, as the often-subconscious performances of manner and meaning are brought to the surface and then released without ever quite taking center stage. We see the simultaneous yet competing desires of individuals to be looked at and to truly be seen, to connect, but never to the point at which an admission of need would be required. This takes place against a backdrop of scenery that is consistent only in the casual apathy it displays towards its inhabitants.
All of this is subtle. The moments are small, the kind you see in passing but rarely have time to narrate (for yourself or for anyone else). These interactions are not generally the focus of the story, but fall to the background. By bringing them fore, Farr imparts a kind of mellow vertigo in her viewer, forcing us to stop just long enough to see ourselves clearly, and to question why we disown our need for the tangible contact of bodies in space.
In an era of globalization and constant electronic communication, Farr’s paintings seem to underscore our increasing discomfort with our embodied selves. We see in her work the need to reclaim these bodies. Our discomfort, she seems to say, is in direct proportion to our need to connect. The fact that Farr remains loyal to the cultural details of each location seems only to highlight the universality of the interactions themselves.
Relay offers us the sensation of not quite knowing where we are in the race, evoking that very quick moment when the runner passes the baton and fleetingly sees the potential to belong both to himself and to the group, without losing either.
Rebecca Farr has exhibited in Los Angeles and in the Pacific Northwest. She lives and works in Los Angeles. This is her first solo show.