Unexpected Journeys: Shawn Farley

Event Details

Unexpected Journeys: Shawn Farley

Time: April 5, 2011 at 11am to May 3, 2011 at 4pm
Location: Northampton Center for the Arts
Street: 17 New South Street
City/Town: Northampton
Website or Map: http://www.nohoarts.org
Phone: 413.584.7327
Event Type: exhibition
Organized By: Northampton Center for the Arts
Latest Activity: Mar 17, 2011

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Event Description

Tuesday, April 05, 2011 through Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Arts Night Out opening reception on Friday, April 8, 5-7pm.


"In order to do assemblage work you must have an unbounded infatuation for the materials of life. And I do, " says Farley. " My studio is a warehouse of ideas, a treasure trove of discarded used and curious things. I search flea markets, tag sales, the streets, dumps, and nature for material that possess the attributes of weathering, peeling, rust, or other special qualities that new materials lack. Everything has an aesthetic quality. When something has been used for another purpose for many years, its scars, wear, and patina give it a new aesthetic, a new life.


"When constructing my assemblages, I like to create or retell myths, dreams, operas, and stories. Some of my assemblages often express personal views on social, political and religious issues and others are purely automatic – they just come together. I don’t like being too literal in my work nor do I often give my work titles that give away their meaning. I like the viewer to interpret their own meaning from the assembly of objects. Sometimes I’ll maintain the original identity of the object so it will be recognized as it might be crucial to the meaning. Or it may be that an object can be more than it seems to be. A new identity emerges when you separate the materials from their original functions, freeing them from their destiny as trash, giving those objects new identities and roles, a new soul.


"It’s not always easy in finding the right placement for the objects. Doubt and change are constant. What is the perfect introduction, the final piece? I must always be able to recognize what belongs and understand its meaning and have the wisdom and patience to wait for this to occur. Sensitivity to chance is important, intuition about shape and color is crucial. It is the intrinsic nature of an object that leads to a new and intimate connection, initiating or continuing the process of creating a construction or collage or discontinuing and starting over. Just as a painter has her palette of paint and color, my palette requires being tactile, touching objects, playing with them. Selecting, relating, and joining, I am guided by a mental inventory of my palette of objects and the hope that the objects from my hunting will fall into place."

Shawn Farley earned a BFA at the University of Nebraska with a double major in Dance and Art. She went on to receive a Masters degree in arts administration from the University of Iowa. In 1984, she became the first director of the Northampton Center for the Arts. She currently lives in Northampton and has been on staff at the UMass Fine Arts Center for over 20 years.

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