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Exhibition Extravaganza: Maria Farrar’s Too late to turn back now at Ota Fine Arts

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This October, Ota Fine Arts Singapore present “Too late to turn back now”, a solo exhibition by Maria Farrar. Born in the Philippines and brought up in Shimonoseki, Japan until the age of 15, Farrar then moved to London, England where she now lives and works. In recent years, Farrar has caught the attention of the European art world, having exhibited consistently in solo and group shows and the Saatchi Gallery acquired her work in 2018. This exhibition will mark her first solo exhibition in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

In her work, Farrar paints scenes derived from her everyday life or from fragments of memories. These scenes include women walking a dog or gazing into the window of a bread shop, a garden as seen through a window and make-up scattered over a dressing table. The captured moments are concrete and yet at the same time, they contain a sense of elusiveness and the feeling of a floating and expanding world.

In her earlier work, Farrar used bright pigments on a raw linen support. The warm grey tones of the linen complement the pigments’ colours, causing them to appear deeper and stronger. Her thick outlines and the sweep of a person’s silhouette are reminiscent of East Asian calligraphy with its smudges and dry brush.

This exhibition features Farrar’s most recent works which reflect her new exploration and painting style. The increasing layers of strokes start to cover the entire picture plane, diminishing the presence of the raw linen support and introducing a rich, vibrant background that sets the tone for Farrar’s sceneries. This development is the result of her desire to introduce more big planes of colour into her paintings. The ephemeral pictorial world has now become a denser scene, ruled by deep primal colours, bringing an intensity to the paintings. The dynamic characters are in contrast with carefully depicted details of even the smallest motifs, creating a rhythm on the picture plane. Daring creatures and objects arise from this technique, releasing their presence within Farrar’s pictorial narrative.

Farrar is clearly aware of the views and senses which she cultivated while growing up in Japan. Among the many Japanese characteristics of her work are the calligraphic use of brushes, close ups and the unpainted margins. Farrar remarks on this as the idea of coming and going between the East (calligraphy, manga) and the West (raw lines, large oil paintings) in terms of technique, colour, narrative and reality. “Employing old techniques and acquiring new paths” is how she explains her attitude as a painter. This exhibition demonstrates Farrar’s curiosity as an artist diving into new worlds without looking back.

Too late to turn back now runs from 5th October to 9th November 2019 at Ota Fine Arts at Gillman Barracks. Admission is free. For more information, visit their website here

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