Geoffrey Farmer at Casey Kaplan Gallery

 

Geoffrey Farmer, Casey Kaplan gallery

Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard, 2013, detail (Paper cutouts, wood, glue)

Geoffrey Farmer, Casey Kaplan gallery

Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard, 2013, detail (Paper cutouts, wood, glue)

 

“Kathy Acker rang my head like a bell.
It happened sometime in the spring of 1990, while she was reading out loud, a passage to our class from Gertrude Stein’s 1914 book, Tender Buttons.
I had just read it myself and thought little of it. In fact I clearly remember not liking it.
The book is comprised of three parts: Objects, Food and Rooms. I didn’t understand what any of the passages had to do with any of the subjects that they were listed under. When Kathy read, she did so simply, without sentiment and with a New York accent that delivered the words with matter-of-factness.
She was sitting at the end of a long conference table at the San Francisco Art Institute, and I was with half of the class, looking out through the window at Alcatraz, our backs facing the wall with the then entombed painting, The Rose (1958-1966) by Jay Defeo.
Kathy read:

“The care with which the rain is wrong and the green is wrong and the white is wrong, the care with which there is a chair and plenty of breathing. The care with which there is incredible justice and likeness, all this makes a magnificent asparagus, and also a fountain.”

Then the sound of a bell.
“The care with which the rain is wrong and the green is wrong and the white is wrong…”
I’m thinking about this now, in New York, while I look out at the rain from the circular window of my hotel room.”

 

Reading the artist’s statement for his solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan gallery in New York, the visitor is immediately taken into his world. Farmer’s planet is a rotating open stage where both the sense of sight and the one of hearing are softly cradled, also through a wise use of the white space of the gallery itself.

Geoffrey Farmer is a Canadian artist born in 1967 in Eagle Island and now based in Vancouver. Farmer creates installation-based artwork using combinations of a broad range of elements (photographs and cutouts are his favorites). He is defined as a post-minimalist artist, in the way his works emphasize the role that the gallery context plays in creating their own meaning. Farmer uses the idioms of theatre and performance as analogies of the process of the construction of meaning. This places him within the international trend, in which “installation art is a theatrical set without a stage play to give it meaning.”

At Casey Kaplan, the title the artist chose, Cut nothing, cut parts, cut the whole, cut the order of time, reminds us once again of how he created the exhibition: a set of components made available for the viewer’s interpretation. The biggest piece visitors finds in the main room of the gallery, named Boneyard, gives them Farmer’s perspective of his entire practice. Farmer takes the ephemerality of time as its theme, crafting small delicate sculptures from the pages of an Art Encyclopedia. Displaying cutouts of sculptures from disparate historical time periods, the artist undoes the fixity of museological display and the agreed sequence of historical events.

Geoffrey Farmer, Cut nothing, cut parts, cut the whole, cut the order of time, Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York through 20 December 2014

 

Geoffrey Farmer, Casey Kaplan gallery

Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard, 2013 (Paper cutouts, wood, glue)

Geoffrey Farmer, Casey Kaplan gallery

Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard, 2013, detail (Paper cutouts, wood, glue)

Geoffrey Farmer, Casey Kaplan gallery

Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farwell, 2013 (Computer-generated algorithmic montage sequence)

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by Eleonora Castagna
in Focus on the American East

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