“Tessa Farmer was born in 1978 in Birmingham and lives and works in London. She is the great granddaughter of the influential writer of supernatural horror Arthur Machen. She studied at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, The University of Oxford where she received a BFA and an MFA. Her work has been exhibited worldwide and is in many collections including those of The Saatchi Gallery, London, The David Roberts Collection, London and The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania.
In 2007 she was artist in residence at the Natural History Museum in London and was nominated for The Times/ Southbank Show Breakthrough Award. In 2011 she was awarded a Kindle Project ‘Makers Muse’ Award.
Recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition ‘Unwelcome Visitors’ at The Holburne Museum, Bath, ‘The Nature of the Beast’ at New Art Gallery Walsall, ‘Victoriana’ at Guildhall Art Gallery, London and ‘Red Queen’ at MONA, Tasmania.
I found Farmers work in a text while researching for my essay on the use of animalsin contempty art. She uses found creatures innher work, insects she has found or sourced from somewhere that lets them live out their natural lives, Farmer dows not belive in killing animals specifically for making art (something which i fully agree with). “I collect them from the streets in summer, from greenhouse, windowsills etc – all dead already. I don’t kill anything, and although I can see the importance of collecting insects for scientific purposes, I don’t think this can be justified for art.”
She puts a lot of care into putting together her fairies and the way she talks about them as if refferring to real animals is interesting to watch.
The time and care she puts into these is something reflected in my work, where i am painting creatures and objects which people dont look at or actively avoid or dislike. i do not feel this way about what i paint and out a lot of care into my work.
the mood given off my farmers work is very different to mine, “The artist herself notes: “the fairies’ macabre appearance echoes their disconcerting behaviour. On peering closely into the ‘Swarm’, sinister scenes of abuse and bewildering chimeras emerge as we become absorbed into this almost apocalyptic vision.”” Her work is quite unsettling, and while mine is not happy by any means, my paintings are quiet and calm.
Part of what influenced my current work and what got me to this point of interest was the idea of the appocalypse, whch led me on to decay and abandonment, what happens to things when we leave them along and how nature takes everything back. Farmer mentions the possibility of her fairies attacking humans in the furure, “I suspect once the fairies start attacking humans, they may be in a for a challenge.”, perhaps in this world its the fairies which will bring outbout the end or reduction in human life.