This image of a train passing through the historical interior of a museum juxtaposes the old and the new. The forward progressive motion of the train contrasts with the static architecture of the museum and suggests that the two are in friction. The contrast between the old and the new is also suggested by the methods Stephen Farthing has used to construct his image. The 'old' museum has been expressed in swathes of paint, a traditional artistic medium, while in contrast the image of the train is cut out from a 'modern' photograph. The image highlights the perennial problem faced by Museums: how to conserve and display the past whilst simultaneously looking to the future?
Stephen Farthing was born in Leeds in Yorkshire. He studied at St Martin's School of Art (1969-73) and the Royal College of Art in London (1973-76). He showed his work regularly at the John Moores exhibitions in Liverpool during the 1980s and held solo exhibitions in London in 1984 and 1986. Farthing was appointed Head of Painting (1985-87) and later Head of Department (1987-89) at West Surrey College of Art and Design. From 1990 to 2000 he was the Ruskin Master at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford. He then moved to the United States to take the position of Executive Director of the New York Academy of Art. Today, Farthing continues to live and work in New York.
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