Anat Ebgi is pleased to announce History of Violence, an exhibition of paintings by New York artist Alannah Farrell. On view at 6150 Wilshire Blvd, opening Saturday, June 5, 2021. This is Farrell’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
Alannah Farrell is an artist committed to the figure and figurative tradition. Their work is a meditative, continued, coherent exploration of how the figure can be expressive. By soft, repetitive, considered brushwork, the artist portrays their inner circle of friends and creative community with a complex tenderness. At the core of their investigations are perplexing questions about psychological states, identity, and what it means to really know someone. Each sensitive portrait is a protest, an exercise in safety, community building, and nurturing intimacy against the alienation, anxieties, and violences of modern queer life.
In the titular painting, History of Violence a solitary subject posed with manicured hands on hips, challenges the viewer with a direct gaze. The mood is assertive and self assured. A closer look reveals other narrative clues. With a bloodied nose and black eye, the subject stands barefoot on the pavement surrounded by cigarette butts. As with many works, Farrell’s paintings feature real people and real places, but involve a combination of memories, as well as the manipulation of color, light, and composition to draw out a specific emotional tone.
Farrell frequently names the friends and sitters in the titles of their paintings, recognizing the individuality of each sitter rather than using them as symbolistic subjects. Small details, like a cork board of photos and mementos, as in A Night in June, or a pile of books as in Angel (After Bernini) reveal undercurrents of the subject’s own biography. While personal histories are kept private and guarded, the artist evokes a psychological gravitas and dignity without gratuitous or literal depictions of these violences as testaments to the strength of the sitters.
Alannah Farrell (b. 1988, Kingston, NY) is a queer painter who lives and works in the East Village, New York, NY. They grew up in a rural hamlet in upstate NY, raised by two outside-the-system creative parents. They completed their BFA at The Cooper Union, New York, NY in 2011. They have exhibited their work at The Painting Center, New York; Theirry Goldberg Gallery, New York; and UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles.