Skins and Bones series by Mary Farrell

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Skins and Bones series by Mary Farrell

Whenever I think about art, I imagine finding a deeper meaning in the things that exist in planet earth. That is why I find Mary Farrell’s art to be quite intriguing, fascinating and thought provoking. Through her work, she takes people through a journey of reflections about life and how art depicts these larger meanings. In Northwest Museum of art under the uncommon gifts section, Mary Farrell engages viewers through her captivating Skin and Bones print by exploring the “balance of opposites”; a notion that is unique to her art.

I took particular interest in the Skin and Bones print series by Mary Farrell. Here she exemplifies her “balance of opposites” concept by bringing together two discordant forms of artistic expression, that is, drawing and printmaking. Drawing was essential to Mary Farrell, but the physical labor and details that go into printmaking enabled her to synthesize concepts regarding scale and nuance. As such, in the Skins and Bones prints in Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Mary Farrell conveys a greater meaning within portions of the world while drawing from the natural inspirations of plant forms and the human body. In this regard, the Skin and Bones prints incorporate topography, geography and terrain in accentuating the places where the drawn marks trace the connection and tension between nature and man. Moreover, each color that is visible in the printed image is painted in the form of a single layer by the artist.Skins and Bones series by Mary Farrell

The process of making the Skins and Bones series is even more intriguing when you think about it. This is because Farrell takes time to produce fine art by first working a live model. She depicts the connection and tension between nature and the human body and the best way to do so is to use a live model. From the live model, Farrell drew with ink directly onto a sheet of acetate which was then later printed onto a block of wood. She then carved the wood to print the image. It is imperative to note that in as much as printing on a block of wood is essential, the details lie in carving of the block of wood to portray the bones and figures of the human body. Farrell carved the bones to appear forward on the flat surface. She also carved the figure to attain the effect of the human body or form moving back in space, thus, effectively exploiting the printmaking process and discordant printing techniques to define space and scale.

In a world where prints can be made today by mere software, it is indeed delightful to see the product of an artist who went through the entire process by hand to produce what can be referred to as classic 3D artwork in the modern world. Art in the contemporary world can be duplicated easily through 3D print. However, to be able to go through the entire process by work of hand and communicate a deeper meaning in the final print as well, is what makes Mary Farrell’s artwork phenomenal and why I enjoyed viewing it.Skins and Bones series by Mary Farrell