Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Goeffrey Farmer, The essence of the thing

New York Times writer Roberta Smith likens Farmer's work to Nancy Spero and Sara VanDerBeek, but questions wether there is anything worth seeking underneath all of that glue and paper.  Although the aesthetic connections are strong between Farmer, Spero, and VanDerBeek, I find Farmer's work much crueler, riding a thin line between the playful and the sinister that pulls his sculptures and installations into a poetic investigation through the lives of objects and our short interventions with them. His small sculptural marionettes share the beauty and absurdities of Hoch and Hausmann, with heightened attention to the history and function of the thing itself. Geoffrey Farmer draws from a variety of detritus material, rethinking it into characters, objects, and installations that effortlessly tackle big questions with a coy smile. His first solo show "“Bacon’s Not The Only Thing That Is Cured By Hanging From A String”" was titled around an installation of objects hanging from streetlamp sculptures, simultaneously memorializing brooms and plates, while creating new functions for them. Art critic Gabrielle Moser reviewed the show at Casey Kaplan for Canadian Art and argues against the notion that his work is simply decorous. While stunning, she writes that Farmer's work "offers more than a poetic narrative about the transformative possibilities of everyday materials, and instead meditates on the ways we try to cope with life’s larger mysteries through the tools we have at hand." Very well said.

The title for the show came from a poem by Hugh Kingsmill:  Like enough, you won't be glad,/ When they come to hang you, lad, / But bacon's not the only thing/ That's cured from hanging on a string."

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