Formal Complexity, a new exhibition at the Sesnon Gallery, highlights UCSC’s permanent collection of figurative works by the late artist Charles Griffin Farr (1908-1997).
A painter in the American Realist tradition, Farr’s influences range from classical Renaissance through 17th century Dutch painting, to contemporary ideas of visual perception.
His work can be found in the collections of the National Museum of American Art, Washington D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Oakland Museum of California; Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento--and at UC Santa Cruz.
“After his death, Mr. Farr gifted many paintings and drawings to UCSC, some of which are also on display at the University Center,” noted Sesnon Gallery director Shelby Graham.
“The dynamic group of paintings at our exhibition represents the full spectrum of his artistic career,” she added. “A few special surprise loans are also on view.”
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Farr studied in New York City and at the Academie Americaine in Paris. He moved west after World War II and taught at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Farr also became renowned in San Francisco for the figure drawing sessions he held in his studio on Potrero Hill.
“Farr has long been recognized for helping to preserve the Potrero Hill Library by organizing a group exhibition with his students starting in 1958, which continues today as the oldest annual art show in San Francisco," Graham noted. "It owes its longevity to a group of artists who painted with, or were under the tutelage, of Farr.”
Graham said that the gallery will host a free public reception on October 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. that will feature stories about Farr and the creative neighborhood of Potrero Hill in San Francisco.
She added that in conjunction with the exhibition, free figure drawing events will also take place throughout the month of October at the Sesnon.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays until 8 p.m., or by appointment for special tours.
The gallery is located at Porter College at UCSC and is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free and parking is available in metered spots.
For more information, visit the Sesnon Gallery web site.