Toomey Tourell is pleased to announce a one-person exhibition of new paintings by the artist Ursula O'Farrell, entitled Beneath the Surface: New Paintings by Ursula O'Farrell.
Back in the 1950's, a group of painters, among them David Park, Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff, established what came to be known as Bay Are Figurative painters. Though many of these artists' work had formerly been rooted in abstraction, they began as a group to look to the world of appearances and the human body as their inspiration and subject matter. The next generation of this group (which included Manuel Neri and Joan Brown), continued this exploration of the figure, usually working from a live model, which placed them firmly outside the school of the Abstract Expressionists.
Ursula O'Farrell, along with artists such as Christopher Brown, continues this venerable tradition while honing and interpreting the psychology of its landscape. In this particular exhibit, O'Farrell focuses almost entirely on the subject of women. The emotionally charged situations depicted here are more evocative of the German Expressionists in their investigation of the psyche and its inner workings.
In O'Farrell's own words, "In my figurative oil paintings I seek to investigate life as I know it, exploring the many complex relationships and situations that are part of the human experience. Being of German and Chinese descent, I like to incorporate loose gestural strokes of brush and palette knife along with an intense color palette. My finished paintings often result in large-scale surfaces that infuse thick textures with unusually emotional color harmonies.
Most often, my paintings begin with a dance of paint, intuition and search. Nothing more. The creative act of painting on canvas and wood is the only known certainty. Nothing is scripted. All else is serendipity, chance and an eagerness to see what may come from the primary intention of discovering the painting's ultimate revelations.
My paintings include themes of female relationships, family, inner struggles and joyful celebrations. In all, they are connected by my overriding desire to find what is beneath the surface - to carefully investigate what is embedded in the content of each painting - very much like a Chinese fortune cookie, readying to reveal a particular hidden message in the center of its being."
Ursula O'Farrell has exhibited extensively in the United States, and was recently the recipient of the Genesis of Bay Area Figurative Art Now competition and exhibition, juried by Theophilus Brown. Her previous solo exhibition at Toomey Tourell Fine Art was favorably reviewed by Artweek Magazine in 2009.