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“A Feast of Gods and Animals”


“Who and what is for dinner matters not as all of it is up for digestion”

Emma Gray HQ is pleased to present Rebecca Farr’s newest body of work “A Feast of Gods and Animals”. Her second exhibition with the gallery reveals a fertile landscape of animistic celebrations displayed as abundant feast tables and forest. Following her first solo show at the gallery “Cave”, 2021 The new body of work advances the myth of Inanna’s descent and renewal with a festive return to the living world. A feminine environment, domestic and languid, sets the stage as Farr approaches her essential thematic question of embodiment with a new contemplation of desire as source of awakened consciousness. The central theme of her inquiry; the integration of culturally paradoxical energies, of Gods and Animals, finds a sensuous homeland in nature.

Forest landscapes and banquet tables traverse across canvases in loosely rendered paint as interior spaces are folded into an exterior world of foliage. Who and what is for dinner matters not as all of it is up for digestion. The layered tabletops reveal entwined bodies, bowls of stew and picked fruit and cake, all illuminated by sun or candlestick. The large-scale compositions built with impressionistic layers of color, line and texture, refer to the cultural legacy of still life and figurative work found during The European Golden Age.

Both Northern and Southern Renaissance, the Italian Bacchanal and the religiously symbolic still life paintings of the Netherlands are material for Farr’s irreverent romp through Western spiritualism. In particular the still life’s rich moral storytelling through vases, fish and fruit; the “Memento Mori”, remember you will die, tempt as they instruct. The fleeting and seductive material world is caught in the trap of time thus becoming a celebration of spiritual purity as well as pleasure.

Laurens Craen, and Judith Leyster are among many that inspire the abundant tabletop bounties. Farr juxtaposes these platters with the Italian works celebrating the marriage of the carnal and celestial. “The Feast of the Gods”, by Bellini and Titian and other thematic works further depict the pagan union of classic gods in nature. Farr plays with this corporeal divinity in her modern storytelling, the narrative humorously joins in the study of revelries as the celestial, pedestrian and profane all find a seat at the table.

In Rebecca Farr’s world the pristine makes way for “lower” human expressions classically cast out of paradise; the sexual, lusty and hungry parts of the human psyche are invited in. The feast is to be ingested as medicine, capable of mending the exiled aspects of self. Appearing as a colorful ‘Babbette’s Feast’, compassion for human want is an essential ingredient in her work. Farr creates a space in which it is possible to eat the apple and stay within the garden; to experience embodiment as a spiritual home. This body of work is her somatic thinkings about the flow of reality as a unified field of consciousness, and of nature as a living awakened energy that shines as a paradoxical being; temporal yet eternal, a trustworthy intelligence of sensuous intimacy.