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Seeds and Syntax
Julia Farrer and Mandy Bonnell: Eagle Gallery, 6 February -
A review by Laurence Noga
©Copyright Patrick Morrissey and Clive Hancock All rights reserved.
‘Seeds and Syntax’ brings together the work of Julia Farrer and Mandy Bonnell, through the medium of book arts, in an original and collaborative manner. The artists’ shared affinity with drawing and print develops, in this exhibition, as an understanding of complexity of form and depth of structural sensation. The visual harmonics of the space have a natural synergy that comes partly from the art works themselves, but also from the interaction between the meditative, the decorative, and the industrial. The show is curated through a logical process of thought and imagination, which allows the concept to coexist alongside the body of work, in an alignment of exacting geometry and punctuated pattern.
“It’s no good having an idea if you can’t construct it, new ideas come out of the making. There are no ideas without technique, just as there is no language without syntax.” (Julia Farrer)
Farrer’s Syntax of Bridges is a highly ambitious, large-
Julia Farrer, Syntax of Bridges, 2014 etching and letterpress , with text by Robert Vas Dias, 27 x 182 cm
‘The present painter can be said to work with chaos, not only in the sense of handling the chaos of the blank picture plane, but also in handling the chaos of form. In trying to go beyond the visible and the known world the artist is working with forms that are unknown even to them” (Barnett Newman).
The book is constructed in an intriguing eight-
That sense of ‘the site’ resonates in Farrer’s exactingly-
Circus Acts 1-
Julia Farrer, Study 1 2015 acrylic on birch ply 44 x 58cm
Julia Farrer Circus Acts 1 -
Mandy Bonnell’s recent work is a result of her residency at the Albers Foundation
in Connecticut in 2009, which influenced her work in a poetic and potent way: “I
was given unique unlimited access to the archives, and was able to explore the text-
“Pattern making is central to my imagery, and I prefer to work on an intimate scale. Drawing within the format of a pattern helps me to understand and recognise how important both nature and its growth are, as a key to creativity” (Mandy Bonnell).
Three images from Mandy Bonnell’s boxed work
The work is deepened by Bonnell’s long-
Mandy Bonnell, Eloise Butler's Wildflower Garden 2013 Moss Box 2014
The work of Farrer and Bonnell demonstrates that both artists are engaging in an ongoing dialogue with the concept of simultaneity and the idea of syntax, while their sense of formal reductivism allows us to undergo a metamorphosis, conditioning how we see, feel and react.