Maria Farrar (1988 - )

Oil on canvas


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© Maria Farrar

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  • About the work
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    In Cat, a painting by Maria Farrar, the body of a white cat appears in the foreground with its back to us and motionless, resembling the inert form of a delicate vase. There is a great sense of space in this painting – from the white disc of the table-like structure beneath the cat, to the glimpse of the balcony on the building through the open window. The pale colours and the calligraphic marks used to delineate the windows and balcony suggest an Eastern influence. Farrar was born in the Philippines and grew up in Japan). 


    There is a mysterious, dream-like quality to this image, with certain aspects including the two sheets of white paper on either side of the window left unexplained. In many of Farrar’s paintings, singular objects or figures – such as the cat here – are isolated from everyday reality. Farrar relates these to ideas of indulgence, luxury, loneliness and secrecy. Her paintings present imagery that threatens to dissolve, an approach that she sees as comparable to the development of written Kanji (Japanese writing using Chinese characters), where an observed thing is represented and, through the process, its illustration is gradually eliminated. Farrar uses gestural drawing to translate what she sees into line and form, but is most concerned with the way a thing in itself may appear or feel. The results are intimate and sensual paintings that often contain narratives with an element of mystery.

  • About the artist
    Maria Farrar was born in the Philippines and lives and works in London. She gained a BFA in Fine Art from the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University in 2012; and an MFA in Painting from the Slade School of Art, London in 2016, where she received the Melville Nettleship Prize and the Gwen John Scholarship. Farrar’s solo exhibitions include Spring, Ota Fine Arts, Shanghai (2020); Straits, Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin (2017); Marine, Supplement Gallery, London (2016); and Paintings at the Philippine Embassy, London (2014). Her work was included in the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2021) and has been included in group exhibitions at Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, the Saatchi Gallery, London and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York. She was awarded the Derek Hill Foundation scholarship at the British School of Rome in 2016.
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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Oil on canvas
    height: 122 cm, width: 152.5 cm
    Purchased from Supplement Gallery, November 2016
    verso tc on canvas foldback: Maria Farrar
    Supplement Gallery, 2016 (purchase)
    GAC number