If it weren’t for Charles Griffin Farr leaving his private collection to UCSC in his will, his artwork might not be exhibited at Porter College’s Sesnon Gallery this quarter.
Farr was active from the 1930s through 1980s, and his work is characteristically described by some as “magic realism.” In his early years, he worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, restoring ancient pottery. After serving in World War II, Farr moved to San Francisco and remained there until his death in 1997.
Farr’s work includes a multitude of portraits, still lifes and figure drawings. UCSC owns the entire archive of Farr’s works, and the “Reimagining American Realism” exhibit represents “the most comprehensive exhibition of drawings by Farr that have ever been assembled,” according to the press release from the Sesnon Gallery.
“The great thing about this exhibit is that it was selected by some [UCSC] students who took a summer course on realism and Farr’s work,” said Emily Warmedahl, a Sesnon Gallery employee.
The exhibit will run from Sept. 3 through Oct. 1 and includes pieces done in a variety of media, such as ink, ink wash, charcoal and graphite. Among the works on display are scenes of everyday life, self-portraits and a variety of figure drawings, all of which showcase Farr’s artistic prowess.
“The students were able to select pieces that went well together,” Warmedahl said. “This particular exhibit has a theme of war years and figure drawings.”
Third-year Jacob Graham helped select the themes and the works of art displayed in the exhibit.
“When choosing the theme and title of the exhibit, our goal was to incorporate, clearly, Charles Griffin Farr’s unique American realist style, while also making the exhibit relevant for students,” Graham said. “We worked towards reinterpreting a genre that may otherwise be irrelevant for the current generation of students, and especially artists, on campus.”