Iowa City artist Laurel Farrin mixes elements of hard edge painting with references to pop culture in her humorous paintings, drawings and videos. By pulling inspiration and techniques from various sources, Farrin explores how viewers relate to abstract forms. Farrin’s paintings confound the viewer with visual riddles, contradictions, and comic juxtapositions, while convincing the viewer to feel sympathy for abstract shapes.
In Farrin’s work geometric forms take on a humanlike presence while performing Sisyphean tasks. Some of these struggles are documented in videos which show the assemblages being thrust into motion by the wind. The same breeze which allowed these figures to move inevitably thwarts their struggle by blowing them over, leading to an endless cycle of fruitless gestures.
Similar abstract figures inhabit seemingly empty frames in Farrin’s paintings. When these frames are combined they seem to form a comic strip which the viewer must piece together. Viewers are led to believe that if the frames are assembled correctly the punchline to the joke will be revealed, if there is one. Laurel Farrin is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa. She splits her time between Iowa City and New York City.
On view July 14-September 9, 2018
image: Laurel Farrin, Bi-Polar Spin, 2002, oil and acrylic on canvas, Courtesy of the Arti