Niel Farber

MOGADISHNI proudly presents the third solo exhibition in MOGADISHNI by the Canadian artist Neil Farber (B.1975. Lives and works in Winnipeg, Canada). Neil Farber will be presenting his famous and intriguing works on paper as well as (for the first time ever) new works on canvas & board.

Illness and death are recurrent themes in Farber´s new works, in which his well-known, peculiar, round headed figures seem to multiply like harmful cells – or spread like an epidemic – across the picture surface. The unpretentiousness and innocence of the works are being infected by something dangerous, disturbing and absurd, and the simple, expressive line is added a notable weight. In the twinkling of an eye small transparent blots of running paint are transformed to swirling, absorbing water masses or to streams of blood from cut-off heads and the hair on the back of the viewer’s neck begin to bristle.

The main idea behind the show is the difference between the paintings and the drawings. “At this point I’m quite comfortable with the drawings and they seem to work out as I imagine them. The paintings are different as I have only been working on boards and canvases the last 8 months or so after not really painting much on my own for the last ten years. I’m still getting used to it, so there is more variety as I figure what I like or don’t like, what I can do and what I can’t. At one point I imagined a series of work related to cannibalism and I thought I would call the show “Canniballistics”, like ballistics from a police laboratory. The more I thought about the work related to cannibalism the less interested I was in making it, but I still wanted to use the title”. (Neil Farber January 2009).

The threats against the self or humanity are manifold, and Farber wrestles with both inner and outer demons and – with an equal amount of awe and mocking irony – faces our mutual feeling of anxiety. We are all in the firing line and the ideas for little, eeriness-causing narrative sequences, which thematize our vulnerability, seem to almost pile up inside the artist.

Farber´s surreal, obscure imagery with its varicoloured “overpopulation” of tiny people, frogs, rats, snakes, captured maidens, dragons, cats and ghosts belongs on the border line between childhood fear and grown-up fantasy and act as the basis for a dramatic description of the darker aspects of the human psyche. Aspects, which are disturbing and upsetting – perhaps even nightmarishly evil – but nonetheless serve as an integrated part of our identity. And on closer inspection may appear to contain certain redeeming qualities – like the vampire with the dejected look on its face, standing forth as a victim itself.

Farber enjoys great recognition and has shown internationally both as a solo artist and as part of the artist group “The Royal Art Lodge”, which was founded in 1996 and in addition to Farber also includes Michael Dumontier and Farber’s nephew Marcel Dzama. In the last years Farber has, among other places, exhibited at Clementine Gallery (N.Y.), Richard Heller Gallery (Santa Monica), Houldsworth (London) and Alice Day Gallery (Brussels). In 2008 Farber had solo shows at Sies + Höke Gallery, Düsseldorf and Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.


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