holly farrell’s clowns



LOVE! And also… huh!? This is a very new series by Toronto based artist Holly Farrell, and I cannot get over how different it is than her usual work. Her stunning painting skills are still the same, but the subject matter is a huge departure from what she has become known for… work that I have written about 5 zillion times, featured in my book, and had the pleasure of hanging in person last year at the Tanner Hill Gallery in Tennessee. That show was called Beautifully Boring… clearly it’s time for a new show with Holly’s work… Beautifully Bizarre! Clowns. Portraits of actual clowns that sat for her. Sooooo different than her paintings of vintage milk jugs, shoes, and cookbooks {still so fantastic in their Holly Farrell-ness}, but I had to ask, why clowns? This is her lovely, thoughtful answer:

Painting, for me, is an exploration of the grey areas of my experience… whether it be a still life or a portrait of a person or, in this instance, portraits of clowns.  There is a duality in clowns that I find fascinating – there is the clown, who I painted, and there is the person, behind the paint.  Their mask, their nose, their paint allows them to draw on parts of themselves that would typically be frowned upon in our society.  The person and the clown do not live in perfect harmony – it seems they rely heavily on one another at times.  Our response to the clown says so much about ourselves.  We need clowns.  They give to us at their own expense.  They make us laugh, cry, they make us angry, they make us feel whatever needs working out.  Clowns are asking for it.  That’s how they help heal us.

{ps. Almost no one has seen these paintings yet. She’s been tucked away in her studio working on these [and many more] for a new show that opens next week at Chicago’s Packer Schopf Gallery. Opening reception: Friday Feb 21 5~8pm and it runs until April 5th. I wish I could go… you go for me, ok?}






comments (3)

  1. YUMb YUMb /// 02.12.2014 /// 8:59am

    “I am a clown, but every clown has a person inside them.
    Some more than others.
    Every clown has an un-altered ego . . .
    Mine goes to work
    and does chores
    and goes shopping
    and stuff.
    So it’s kinda like having a slave . . . ”

    ~YUMb YUMB, from “Peanuts Enlargement”

    It was a honour to sit for Holly ;o
    )

  2. Ruth /// 02.12.2014 /// 10:25am

    Wow! These are amazing! (also, love the Labatt 50 in the second last clown’s hand)

  3. Jessica /// 02.12.2014 /// 1:03pm

    I MUST have one of these! Clowns have never been my thing, but these clowns? Yes!!!