Ursula O'Farrell
at Craighead Green Gallery through July 2.
by Todd Camplin

Local gem, Craighead Green Gallery is a must see in the Dallas Design District.
On a recent visit to the gallery to view the latest show, California artist Ursula
O'Farrell commanded my attention.    
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"Letting Go" - 48"x 60 - oil on panel
"Tempest Moon" - 48" x 48" - oil on linen
O’Farrell’s work reminds me of the Bay Area Figurative artists Elmer Bischoff and David
Park, because they “infuse thick texture with unusually emotional color harmonies.”
Or send yourself further back from the 1950’s to the 1890’s Impressionist, because
O’Farrell’s blurred figures use similar rich narrative and like Mary Cassatt, “themes
of female relationships” as a focus.
I also observe highlights to Abstract Expressionist art. O’Farrell seems to dance across
the canvas with her brush, leaving marks of emotionally charged paint. You can just
feel the layers of paint worked over until a purposeful image appears. Thankfully,
the heavy-handed machismo of the heroic painters has been dropped for a
smaller canvas, perfect for her type of personal story telling. O’Farrell’s approach
allows the viewer to enter the conversation. You don’t feel as if you’re a voyeur,
but you are a participant in an unfolding story.
"Of the Earth" - 48" x 48" - oil on panel
The work, “Letting Go,” centers on a theme of loss, yet her vivid colors, dancing, and
broad strokes declare a sense of hope. O’Farrell’s distinct layering of characters, and
abundant use of paint, exemplifies classic Abstract Expressionism. However, I believe
O’Farrell’s palette choice, and her rejection of the Modernist tendency to flatten
an image, to be an innovative approach. “Letting Go,” shows 2 pairs of women,
each holding hands. Their conversation is silent, reverent. O’Farrell wants us to see
our own stories of loss and our spiritual connections to one another. The blurred
figures help us to easily exchange her characters with people we know.  This
feeling of shared experience only heightens an already emotional painterly piece.
Craighead Green Gallery
1011 Dragon Street   Dallas, TX 75207
"Cherished Moment" - 54" x 54" - oil on canvas
Ursula O’Farrell studied in Italy and has exhibited in the Florence Biennial. No doubt,
this experience had a great influence on her work. Ursula O’Farrell received her BFA
from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and her MFA at San Jose State
University. She has shown extensively in California and Texas. O’Farrell’s new work
will be available to view through July 2nd at Craighead Green Gallery.

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