[OTA Fine Arts Shanghai] Spring:: Maria Farrar

11 Nov 2020 - 9 Jan 2021
  • "I wanted to paint cakes and shoes because I got frustrated with the thought that you can't paint that because you're a girl."


    — Maria Farrar

  • Ota Fine Arts Shanghai is delighted to present "Spring", a solo exhibition by the London-based painter Maria Farrar featuring 11 new paintings. It will be Farrar’s third exhibition with the gallery, and her first in Shanghai. Since completing her Master’s degree in 2017, Farrar has received a reputation for her paintings that connect the pictorial language of the East (Manga, calligraphy) and the West (Oil painting, the use of linen). With an acute sense of colour, and dynamic compositions, Farrar depicts scenes derived from her everyday life or from fragments of memories that span the grand lakes of the Philippines to the shopfront windows that line the streets of London. These captured moments are concrete and yet simultaneously elusive, invoking feelings of a floating and expanding world.

  • Taking its name from David Hockney’s artwork Do remember they can’t cancel the spring, and in response to the global...

    Details: Maria Farrar, Lake Taal, 2020, Oil on linen, 260 x 180 cm

    Taking its name from David Hockney’s artwork Do remember they can’t cancel the spring, and in response to the global coronavirus outbreak, this exhibition captures new beginnings and a much needed sense of hope during these times. Most of the paintings in this exhibition were created during the pandemic and ‘lockdown’. Unable to travel to her studio, Farrar focused on small-scale drawings that she could manage from home. Through this process, she re-encountered her love for pastels, their immediacy and pure colours, hence creating a number of pastel drawings which went on to inspire the creation of her largest paintings to date Lake TaalBeaujolais and Chelsea boots


    These paintings are a series of rapidly expanding images which she experienced while in a state of being in-between consciousness: right before one falls asleep or when one is about to wake up. As Farrar asserted, “I needed the bigger canvas for the enormous gestural marks I needed to make, to show the dynamic images from the dream like state."

  • Maria Farrar, Hydrangeas, 2020, Oil on linen, 170 x 210 cm


    Another highlight of the exhibition is a series of garden paintings titled BrunneraHydrangeas and Sunflower. In these paintings, Farrar turns to details as she layers fine brush marks that depicts living plants and organisms commonly observed in nature. While exploring natural landscapes, she “looked at gardens in Botticelli’s Primavera, Lucas Cranach’s Gardens of Eden, and looked inwards to the garden of [her] childhood home in Shimonoseki.” Inspiration for this series came while Farrar was listening to a radio interview. A man who had recovered from coronavirus had spoken passionately about a recovery garden and a large inner courtyard of a hospital filled with plants and flowers that represented a place of hope and peace.

  • While Maria Farrar continues to explore the connections between the east and the west, she admits it has become more...

    Details: Maria Farrar, Rum Baba, 2020, Oil on linen, 180 x 130 cm

    While Maria Farrar continues to explore the connections between the east and the west, she admits it has become more subtle and organic in the actual paintings. “Continuing my journey into colour, the current and next stage is more subtle: how an eastern feeling for colour translates to oil paint.”.


    Ota Fine Arts Shanghai welcomes you to join us as we encounter Farrar’s dreamy and hope-filled canvases.

  • Installation views

  • Featured artworks

  • About the Artist

    Maria Farrar (b. 1988, Philippines) was raised in Shimonoseki, Japan between the age of 2 through 15, before she moved to the UK where she received her BFA from the Ruskin School of Art, in 2012 and her MFA from the Slade School of Art in 2016. Her solo exhibitions include “Too late to turn back now”, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, Singapore (2019), “Eaves Deep”, mother’s tankstation, London (2018), “straits”, mother’s tankstation, Dublin (2017), “Marine”, Supplement Gallery, London (2016). She also participated in group exhibitions including “Post Art Fair”, Ota Fine Arts, Singapore (2020), “Xenia: Crossroads in Portrait Painting”, Marianne Boesky Gallery – Chealsea, New York (2020), “Day Tripper”, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK (2019), “Ways of Seeing”, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 and the Government Art Collection, London, UK (2019), “Present Progressive”, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, Japan (2019), “The Horse”, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2018), “Hypnagogia”, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK (2018), “Known Unknowns”, Saatchi Gallery, London (2018), “Pink Density”, Clovis XV, Brussels (2016), “Curious Struggle: Tim Patrick & Maria Farrar”, Arthouse1, London (2014). Her works are in the collection of Saatchi Gallery Collection (London), Magdalen College Library University of Oxford (Oxford) and AmC Collezione Coppola (Venice).