Neil Farber: Nuisance Grounds

neil-farberMixing his mordant sense of humour with a childlike style, Neil Farber’s artwork inhabits a world of its own. It is a melancholy world, populated with a macabre cast of characters: girls with shining eyes, ghosts, gorillas and endless disembodied heads, spreading rapidly across the canvas. They often carry a weight of sadness or foreboding, but their sense of absurdity and surprising juxtaposition of ideas means that they’re more likely to make you laugh than they are to bring you down.

His work, which at times recalls David Shrigley at his darkest, has explored relationships, religion and in particular illness and death, as in last year’s Canniballistics exhibition. He has worked variously with watercolour, oil and mixed media, to build rich, densely layered pieces.

Born in 1975 in Winnipeg, Farber was an original member of the Royal Art Lodge, a Winnipeg-based artist’s collective where he worked alongside Marcel Dzama and Michael Dumontier. Since the collective disbanded in 2008 Farber has continued to work with Dumontier and has also begun exhibiting solo. For Volta 2010 in New York, Farber has created a series of new works. His major piece is Nuisance Grounds, named for a Canadian expression for a rubbish tip. It is 160 inches (over 4m) wide, a leap away from the two inch square pieces he produced with the Royal Art Lodge. Dazed caught up with him to find out why, in this case, bigger means lighter…

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