Saturday, September 7, 2013


This blog is officially retired. 


a pfarrell art blog joint.

Thank you for visiting, reading, following, commenting.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

happy mid summer

I gasped when I saw how long it's been since I last posted. Seems like I missed the whole month of June. Not sure how that happened, but I am spending a lot of time in the studio preparing for fall shows. The show I'm curating that opens in September has been the focus of my attention. As has having my work commissioned. Oh yeah, and running a private psychotherapy practice takes a bit of time too. No excuses though. Just prioritizing. Or triaging. 

Since the damned deer have devoured the profusion of morning glories I was planning to shoot and post, I have chosen to use these imaginary flowers instead. Here's a bit of summer for all y'all...

The publicity materials for Physical Graffiti, the show I'm curating, are nearly completed, and in another few weeks I'll be posting info. For now, I can say the process has been fun, challenging, complicated, fulfilling, and working with some very talented artists has been truly enjoyable. Please check back for more info... and save the date:

Friday, May 13, 2011

mixing it up

From the Suspension Series (scrim) 
pigment-based ink on silk, mylar, wax, found wood
2010/11  appr. 16 x 16"

After being away from wax for a couple of years and working in oil, I've spent the past few months easing my way back. Having also spent a considerable period of time working on digital photo-based images, as well as creating a large body of work of oil on mulberry paper, I wasn't ready to walk away from paper just yet.
I gave myself some freedom to experiment with numerous materials I hadn't used with wax before: pigment-based ink on silk, Duralar (mylar), corrugated translucent plastic, and double mulberry paper, encaustic medium and paint; pigment stick, powdered pigment, mica, and other powdered materials, graphite, and found wood.
In all cases, I was after light...capturing it, directing it, allowing it. This does not translate much in these photos, but is very apparent in person. Something to work on--how to photograph the work to more accurately show the play of light through the wax and other translucent and semi-transparent materials.
Most remain untitled, for the moment at least, with the two digital images printed on silk coming from a series that has been around for awhile. All of these works are of various sizes, and the smaller ones I think of as maquettes, sort of, but may make their way to the light of day. Who knows....

digital photo-based print on onionskin paper, 
wax, mulberry paper, mylar, found wood
2011  appr. 11 x 14"

untitled (from the working title Open Book Series)
mulberry paper, pigment stick, graphite, wax
2011  appr. 14 x 18"

wax, pigment stick, graphite, powdered pigment on mulberry paper
note: this has four deckled edges
2011  appr. 22 x 30"

wax, pigment stick, graphite, powdered pigment on mulberry paper
2011   appr. 28 x 42"

untitled (from the working title Open Book Series)
mulberry paper, pigment stick, graphite, wax mounted on Arches paper (22 x 30)
2011  appr. 18 x 24"

wax, pigment stick, graphite, 
powdered pigment on mulberry paper 
2011   appr. 28 x 42"

wax, pigment stick, graphite, 
powdered pigment on mulberry paper 
2011   appr. 28 x 42"

digital photo-based print on onionskin paper, 
wax, mulberry paper, mylar
2011  appr. 11 x 14"

From the Suspension Series (scrim) 
pigment-based ink on silk, mylar, wax, 
on mulberry paper and translucent corrugated plastic
2010/11  appr. 20 x 30"

Monday, April 25, 2011

artist as curator...calling all comments

I'm in the midst of curating a show that will open in a Philadelphia gallery in September. I'm well into the fun part of the project: fulfilling my vision, contacting artists, having them respond (at least some of them) and putting together the show, at least on paper. I haven't gotten to the nitty gritty beyond having the venue, the date, and several other arrangements in the works. Now that I have most of the artists for the show, I'm about to step into the next phase of working more directly with the gallery owner, coordinating tasks, writing the essay and putting together the publicity, etc.

I'm interested in hearing from artists who have had the experience of curating a show...Here are a few of my questions:
  • did you include your own work? or do you consider that strictly taboo? (I've had some interesting conversations with both artists and folks who put together shows...there are some rather strong opinions about that one.)
  • what about setting and meeting deadlines? i've often felt that organizing artists can be a bit like herding cats...was this your experience? or was it easy as pie?
  • how did you find the venue for the show you curated? was there administrative help? someone available to help schlep, hang, and light the show, or were you on your own?
  • what "advice" would you offer a first-timer (like me) about this kind of enterprise? (i.e.: what did you learn that you feel might be helpful to others? is there a list of do's and don't's you're willing to share? 
  • was your curatorial experience within a "curator-in-residence" program, did you pitch a proposal for a call, or did you just wing it and approach a gallerist or director of a venue?
Feel free to share your experiences in general about participating as an artist in a show curated by an artist as well...or maybe you're an artist who has always wanted to curate a show but didn't quite know how to proceed. Please respond in the comments section. If you wish to remain anonymous, use that option...  

From my own recent experience, I can say that participating in "Conversations" (see previous blog post) was a very positive experience. It was curated by artist Joanne Mattera and artist Laura Moriarity. Laura happens to be the gallery director at RF Handmade Paints...From the start to opening night, this was a very coordinated, smoothly run event.  I suspect both Joanne's and Laura's considerable experience in curating played a major role, as well as a shared vision, clear expectations and communication...a very positive model for me to reference.
In the comments section, Susan Schwab, Rachel Citrino, Joanne Mattera, and Nancy Natale offered their words of wisdom. And Susan, and NN, I appreciate your generous offers. Don't be surprised if you hear from me somewhere along the line...

Here's a little background about my previous curating experiences... When I was an undergrad at Mason Gross, I had the curating itch pretty strong: I participated in a group curatorial project along with 3 other students; curated a group show of ceramic sculpture by a range of participants from Mason Gross; and volunteered to arrange/install the BFA Senior Thesis show. Stressors were minimal; projects were successful, or at least that's my recollection. (Maybe curating is like childbirth; somehow the memory of the pain subsides with time.)

Later in my career, I co-curated an exhibit of encaustic work at Morpeth Contemporary, the gallery where I have been represented for the past 6 or 7 years. It was a joint project, and I had a number of pieces included. 

Since then I put together, with 2 Philly artists, a 3 person show, the (dark) show, at the indie gallery Stratasphere, in Kensington. This was not really curated, since we were each selecting our own bodies of work, though there was dialogue about placement of the work. 

So, this show is my first solo-curating project. I'm enjoying the sense of freedom that comes with the process of making the vision happen....and so far, embracing the uncertainty about what is yet to come. I'll update further in a few days about the decision to include my work or not in a few days.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Conversations @ R&F

The Gallery at R&F presents Conversations
(press release from R&F Handmade Paints)
The Gallery at R&F is pleased to present ‘Conversations’, an exhibition of works by eight painters and sculptors who also work on paper. The show will run from April 2nd through May 12th, 2011. There will be an opening reception for the artists and gallery talk on Saturday, April 2nd, from 5 to 7 p.m. There will also be a gallery closing, on Saturday, May 14 from 2-4 pm, where the artists will be on hand to have conversations with visitors.

Co-curated by Joanne Mattera and Laura Moriarty, ‘Conversations’ is a group exhibition that looks at the work on paper of artists who are primarily known for their paintings or sculpture. By showing these different mediums together, ‘Conversations’ presents a visual dialog between the artists’ two mediums, vis a vis materials, dimensions, proportions, palette and content; as well as a conversation among the participating artists on these same issues. 

The eight artists include Steven Alexander, Nancy Azara, Grace DeGennaro, Pam Farrell, Lorrie Fredette, George Mason, Joanne Mattera and Laura Moriarty.
 Located at 84 Ten Broeck Ave, in midtown Kingston, NY, gallery hours are Monday - Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm. For further information, call (845) 331-3112.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

from the Chamber series

These are digital photo images from a series I have thought of as Chamber. I've been photographing this area in Lambertville, NJ, in daylight and at night, through the seasons, over several years. I never come away without seeing something new, something surprising, both during the time I spend there shooting, and when I finally get to look at the images on my computer.

Shot underneath a bridge and capturing a spill-over designed to carry water from the Delaware & Raritan Canal underneath the Canal into the Delaware River. The word Chamber suggested itself to me almost immediately, with its sense of an enclosed space beyond the effluence.

If the water is low enough, I can get close to the water falling over the spill-over. During late summer, I have to get brave and push through weeds that grow way over my head in height and are host to way too many spiderwebs and cobwebs, not to mention whatever flying insects are hanging around. On a muggy summer evening I will often come away from spending time there damp with mist from the spray and from the humidity. Because of the mist, the air thick with humidity and distinctive river scent that disappears during the winter months, summer nights are my favorite time to be there.