With over 30 years of experience in art making, Shawn Farley derives inspiration from the surrealist and avant-garde movements and particularly the women artists of those periods – Tanning, Carrington, Varo, Oppenheim, Donas, and Popova. Their work speaks to the feminine psyche, be it nurturing or not. Farley utilizes foundry molds, found objects, and paint to create abstract, figurative symbols and totems. Many of them come together through automatic placement originally, but with constant editing, and are completed with a specific theme or vision in mind. Themes spring from dreams, anxiety, and what she sees as the weight of humanity in this world. Just as with symbols created in the past, her work elicits a feeling, tells a story, or at the very least begins one. Farley lives and works in Florence, MA
My palette of found objects and foundry molds requires being tactile, and playful, and using chance and intentional placement to transform the objects into figurative totems. This is followed by painting them in colors reminiscent of an aging patina that lend a surreal quality. As I create my work, I let the objects guide me. The composition comes first but with editing, a theme emerges. It might be something such as women’s rights, climate change, ignorance of those in power, or more personal themes such as aging, spirituality, or the supernatural. I find meaning in these found objects and detritus from the past. And by reimagining their purpose and giving them personalities, I look to revive and recast their history and for the viewer to find kinship in these haunting shapeshifters. Freed from their destiny as trash, these curious objects assume new identities and evocation something soulful.