Into The Mythic With Rebecca Farr’s Animal Love Thyself

Riot Material
9 min readMay 30, 2019

at Klowden Mann (through June 15)
Reviewed by Ellen C. Caldwell

When I wrote about Rebecca Farr’s fourth solo exhibit in November of 2016, I said it was everything. I saw the show immediately following the 2016 presidential election and Farr’s show created a nurturing embrace and a place for soul-and nation-searching. In her fifth solo exhibit at Klowden Mann, Animal Love Thyself, Farr’s exhibition again feels like everything we need in an age that is amidst Trump’s presidency, amidst the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp, and amidst a time that is more and more against the rights of people who are not hetero, cis, white men

Farr’s multimedia show consists of large plastered works of furniture and other household items, oil paintings on wood and canvas, and ceramic sculptures. With ambitious goals, Farr sets out to break down and interrogate biblical stories and origin myths that have either cast, or in some cases even expelled, the body and the feminine as secondary and unnecessary. From the show’s press release, “Farr has made a study of the moments in which the body is asked to abandon itself as an act of spiritual development and offers an integrative remedy to an old wound.”

Dividing the gallery into different spaces, each featuring an overarching story and theme, Farr uses her mixed media to create domestic divisions throughout. Upon entry, visitors are greeted by a plaster garden of animals on the floor (made from plastered stuffed animals), aptly called Animal Greeting. It looks as if Farr dipped the animals generously into plaster so that they are rounded, globulous, and inviting. If you look closely, you notice things that hint at the exhibit’s overarching theme, such as a larger dog in an embrace with a smaller one on its lap, almost an animalistic homage to Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Pietà, suggestive of the Virgin Mary holding a Christ figure in its lap.

The animals gather in this garden, near hanging ceramic braids on the wall, and a beautiful painting indicative of both Farr’s style in general and this show specifically. This work, Promised Land I, ties in all of the colors and feelings of the show, welcoming viewers to enter the Judeo-Christian tale of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden. In a living-room like…

Riot Material

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