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Artists

Ursula O'Farrell

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Statement

“My intention in painting is to begin from life, then to interpret the subject matter from a deeply personal and expressionistic point of view. Often, my search is to find the rhythm within the painting that resonates with my own life experiences.”

A landscape of distinctive brushwork, textured surfaces and gestural marks unite Ursula O’Farrell’s figurative oil paintings. Her provocative work evokes the California Bay Area Figurative Movement that emerged in the early 1950s with visionaries such as Elmer Bischoff, David Park and Richard Diebenkorn. O’Farrell’s unique style builds upon this rich heritage. Primarily an abstract figure painter, she combines the emotional content of Expressionism with a contemporary palette infused with the light and shadows found within her California surroundings.

Ursula O’Farrell is a California contemporary artist with a strong background in abstract figurative painting. Her formal studies began with a bachelor’s degree in painting from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. During her junior year, she studied in Italy through Gonzaga University in Florence. Upon graduation, Ursula received the prestigious Eugene Escalier Foreign Study Scholarship for independent study focused on German and Austrian Expressionism. Later, she received a master’s degree in painting from San Jose State University. Her exposure to a myriad of internationally renowned artists working in the fields of abstraction and the figure came from working at art institutions such as the San Jose Museum of Art and The Palo Alto Art Center.

Education

1987-89 M.A., Painting and Drawing, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
1985 Eugene Escalier Foreign Study Scholarship, German/Austrian Expressionism
1982-83 Gonzaga University in Florence, Jr. Year Abroad Program, Florence, Italy
1980-84 B.A., Painting, cum laude, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

2011 Selected Exhibitions

Beneath the Surface, Toomey Tourell Fine Art, (solo)
Craighead Green, Dallas TX (solo)
Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, CA (solo)
Two Person Show, Gallery North, Carmel, CA
Red, Toomey Tourell Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
Annual Group Show, Craighead-Green, Dallas, TX

2010 Selected Exhibitions

Emotional Color, Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
New Images of Man and Woman, Alphonse Berber Gallery, Berkeley, CA (curator: Peter Selz)
Annual Group Show, Craighead-Green, Dallas, TX
Connected by Color, Gallery North, Carmel, CA
Three Painters: Search for Self, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA
Annual Group Show, Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA

2009 Selected Exhibitions

New Work, Toomey Tourell Fine Art, San Francisco, CA, with exhibition essay by Susan Landauer (solo)
The Constant is Change, B. Sakata Garo Gallery, Sacramento, with exhibition essay by Susan Landauer (solo)
New Work, Craighead-Green Gallery, Dallas, TX (solo)
The Constant is Change, Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, CA (solo)
I’ll Bet You Can’t Paint a Portrait: The Genesis of Bay Area Figurative Art Now Competition and Exhibition, Art Space 712, San Francisco, CA (juror: Theophilus Brown)

2008 Selected Exhibitions

New Image of Woman, Solo Show, Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, CA, exhibition essay by Dr. Peter Selz (solo)
Gallery Artists, Group Show, Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA
New Work, Solo Show, Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA
Monotype Marathon 2008, Group Show, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, SJ, CA
Figurative Abstractions, Solo Show, Stanford Art Spaces, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Visual Politics, Group Show, Santa Cruz Art League, Santa Cruz, CA (juror: Peter Selz)
The Art of War, Group Show, John Natsoulas Center for the Arts, Davis, CA

2007 Selected Exhibitions

Pursuit of Beauty, Solo Show, Art Museum of Los Gatos, Los Gatos, CA
Peripheral Visions, Solo Show, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
New Works, Two-Person Show, Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
The National Figurative Show, Juried Show, Santa Cruz Art League, Santa Cruz, CA
Gallery, Cowell College, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
New Approaches to the Figure, Solo Show, Michaelangelo Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA
Group Exhibition, Lisa Coscino Gallery, Pacific Grove, CA
Layerings, Group Show, NIDO Gallery, Moss Landing, CA
Exemplary Contemporary, Group Show, Pickard Smith Gallery, UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA
Down by the Sea, Group Show, Santa Cruz County Bank, Santa Cruz, CA

2006 Selected Exhibitions

Expressions West, Group Show, Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club 110th Annual Open Juried Exhibition, Group Show, National Arts Club, NY, NY
Ricochet: Art by LMU Alumni, Group Show, Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
Elementals: Earth, Air, Fire & Water, Group Show, Lauryn Taylor Fine Art, Carmel, CA

Selected Bibliography

2011

Karlstrom, Paul J., Peter Selz: Sketches of a Life in Art, University of California Press (fall release)

2010

O’Farrell, Road to Joy: Expressionistic Painting, Lecture at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, Los Gatos, CA, August
O’Connor, Celeste, Alphonse Berber Gallery Exhibits ‘Slow Art’, The Berkeley Daily Planet, January 14 – 20
Davidson, Maureen, Made in Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Weekly, Santa Cruz, CA, August 25 – September 1, pg 25
Watson, Linda Crawford, Connected by Color, Monterey Herald, June 18
Fox Television, Lone Star, Season 1, Episode 104

2009

Landauer, Susan, Phoenix Rising: The Remarkable Story of Ursula O’Farrell, Oakland, CA, January
Modenessi, Jennifer, Figuratively Speaking at Berber Gallery, Bay Area News Group (San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times), December
Davidson, Maureen Davidson, Ursula O’Farrell at Toomey Tourell Fine Art, Artweek Magazine, June
Juried Invitation, Studio Visit Magazine, Volume 3, The Open Studios Press, Boston, MA

2008

Selz, Peter, Ursula O’Farrell: Figurative Abstractions, Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
Davidson, Maureen, Art with Homework, Santa Cruz Art League, Metro Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, Nov. 5 – 12, P. 35

2007

Moreland, Pamela, Visual Arts: New Figurative Abstractions by Ursula O’Farrell, San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, CA, September 23
Lucchesi Hamilton, Marianne, Real Beauty: Ursula O’Farrell honors the female form with her eye for the abstract, inaugural cover story, Los Gatos Weekender, Media News Corp., September 14
Major, Mandy, Opinion: Welcome to the Weekender, Los Gatos Weekender, Media News Corp., September 14
O’Farrell, Ursula, Pursuit of Beauty, Los Gatos Museum of Art, Los Gatos, CA
Kasik, Kevin, Pursuing Beauty and Building a Bridge Along the Way, The Palette, Los Gatos Art Association, September 2
Dallas, Alastair, New Show at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, Los Gatos Observer, August 2
Major, Mandy, Opinion: Welcome to the Weekender, Los Gatos Weekender, Media News Corp., September 14
O’Farrell, Ursula, Pursuit of Beauty, Los Gatos Museum of Art, Los Gatos, CA
Kasik, Kevin, Pursuing Beauty and Building a Bridge Along the Way, The Palette, Los Gatos Art Association, September 2
Dallas, Alastair, New Show at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, Los Gatos Observer, August 2

Teaching

Monterey Peninsula College
Cabrillo College

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