Nicola Farquhar


Theralar by Nicola Farquhar

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At first it seems clear what Nicola Farquhar paints – portraits of individuals whose features are mostly abstracted through her painterly process. But Farquhar’s considerations actually move in the opposite direction. Beginning with an empty canvas, with the dimensions of a head and shoulders, she finds something human through abstract considerations. The time spent is not with a sitter or imagining a person, but with what pigment and medium might convey.

She has said, ‘My suggestion is that a painting is a head. A head has thoughts, and like us has a sometimes tender and sometimes terrible desire to exchange and be understood. At our best we are curious, compassionate, and willing to take risks. Perhaps it is the same for a painting.’ Farquhar evokes through the painting process points of relationship with her viewers – a suggested fabric, a setting, a hairstyle. But there is other material here, too. Each painting in which human and botanical forms fuse is named as if it were an individual, evoking a merging of people with the environment. In her highly suggestive manner Farquhar asks us to question our relationship with our natural surroundings.

Production date
oil on canvas
1350 x 1000 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2016
Accession no
Other ID
2016/27 Old Accession Number
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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