Local artist Anne Farrell has newmedia work in two interrelated exhibits: Currents New Media, where she's showing her installations Darkroom and Yoni-4-]oanie; and David Richard Gallery's exhibit Beyond, in which two single-channel videos describe her work. "They're sort of two sides of a coin," Farrell said of the Currents installations. "They reflect off each other. The two pieces are very much in contrast. One is very dark, literally and psychologically, and one is the opposite. It's very light in color and in concept."
Darkroom is a sculptural installation with threedimensional handmade objects arrayed on a table, including a dead bird, a limbless tree trunk, and a black house. The surface of the table itself has a built-in video component and is rendered as an inhospitable jagged red landscape. "I'm calling it a table. It's actually a sculpted object, I guess," Farrell told Pasatiempo. "The other piece I conceived during installation, which is a little intimidating because then there's no room for failure."
Yoni-4-Joanie, originally called Paper Scrap Crap Glitter, is a shimmering sculpture made of fabric, paper, and recycled materials arranged into an amorphous shape. In the center of it is a projected abstract video. Farrell took materials of little consequence and transformed them into a bedazzling work, as lighthearted as her Darkroom is ominous.
I like to be guided by what might be called
the unconscious. -artist Anne Ferrell
Farrell had a hit two years ago when she made The Island of Pal, a site-specific installation that premiered at Currents and was an imaginative ta.ke on a mythical island inhabited by a magical horse named Pal. It was constructed as an immersive environment and inspired a childlike wonder. "I like to be guided by what might be called the unconscious, and it brings up stuff that I might not be so knowledgeable about for myself," she said. "Then once it's out, it's definitely visible and knowable." Pal has become something of a mascot for Farrell. His image appears as a stable element on each page of her website. "He became a real persona and had a lot of specific qualities of what he could and couldn't do, would and wouldn't do. Maybe it's kind of childish, but I don't care."
Farrell has been involved with Currents, which is now in its 15th year, since the beginning, when the organizers were just showing new work in video. Since then, the festival has expanded to include innovative projects across a spectrum of artistic mediums. "I was part of a core group that didn't know it was Currents yet. My role on the board, in part, is to be a spokesperson for artists to Frank [Ragano] and Mariannah [Amster], to the executive directors, and present the artist's point of view when necessary."
Farrell has also been illustrating books for children. 'Tm working with a friend who's part of Meow Wolf," she said. "I've known her for a long time, and we've done two stories. One is published, and one is in progress." The published story is called Neverland, CO, and is written by Jean Selig.
There's a delightful component to Farrell's two-and three-dimensional works and her Currents installations that make experiencing them fun. Her projects have a conceptual depth and seem to draw inspiration from a youthful view of the world. "That comes in from me allowing things to happen. It just unfolds in a playful manner, and I don't usually know where it's going to end up," she said. "That to me is one of the most interesting things about doing art. If you already know what you're doing, you're kind of bored when you're doing it. I like to follow what leads me."