Artists can derive inspiration from almost anything. Irish aritist Gary Farrelly took his from architecture.
Farrelly displayed his exhibit “Sentimental/System: You Mean Everything to Me” in the Carillon Gallery from Sept. 28 to Oct. 26.
Farrelly and department chair of fine arts Joshua Goode met in 2010 when Farrelly was an International Artist-in-Residence at University of Texas at Dallas’s Central Trak Program.
“From the beginning of a residency that I did years ago, we stayed in touch,” Farrelly said. “And this kept me very much in the life of the Dallas art scene.”
Four years later, Farrelly was a Visiting Artist during South Campus’ Summer Student Residency in Hilmsen, Germany, and formed many long-lasting relationships with students on the trip.
“It is uplifting to see students that he mentored there remain in contact with him,” Goode said. “Many of these alumni, such as Charles Gray, Contine Penick, and Megan Verna, are now successful professional artists, and they returned to campus to visit him and connect with our current students as new professional mentors.”
In addition to creating art, Farrelly is also involved in art academia. He teaches a Master of Arts Course in Brussels, where he is based, and interacted with nearly 300 students while at TCC.
“I think that I enjoy art education because I see it as being something quite reciprocal,” Farrelly said. “I don’t only feel like I am sort of downloading information into people. I tend to learn a lot about their experiences and the methods of making they have developed themselves.”
Finding a unique area of expertise helped hone in Farrelly’s teaching. He settled on a field he calls “self-institutionalization” where artists behave like they are institutions.
“I was never going to be the person who knew everything there is to know about, you know, the Renaissance, or even more contemporary things like decolonization or queer theory,” Farrelly said. “My catalogue sort of looks like it could be a brochure for a bank. And the works are stamped and there are lists.”
Farrelly’s exhibit is inspired by his interest in architecture and repetition. An element of his work includes stamps. They vary, but Farrelly’s signature print contains his name, a space to write the current date and “1983-2077,” his birth year and predicted death year. The repetitive element of his art is manifesting in stitching. Even going as far to create a new stitch entirely for his work.
“I am inspired by how he blurs the lines between performance and art and interweaves them seamlessly in his exhibition—which was transformed into an office-esque space where he would meet with students to provide professional advice and guidance,” Goode said. “He helps expand what the possibilities of art can be and how each student artist can develop an art practice that is a true representation of themselves.”
Assistant professor of Art Humna Raza was very impressed with the exhibit.
“It’s hard to take something as ordinary as a post card or like the document he is using and present them in this cool way,” Raza said. “I feel like the installation really helps portray that as well.”
Raza brought her students from her art appreciation classes to the exhibit and did a writing assignment afterwards about their thoughts.
“They were fascinated, but also wildly confused at the same time,” Raza said. “It’s a good source of creative culture for them.” ￼
Goode said Farrelly is always welcome to return to TCC.
“He has proven to be a long-term champion of our students and continues to professionally support them,” Goode said. “He is an ideal mentor who helps bring out the best in our students. He is also a celebrated artist in the broader DFW art community, and it allowed us to host many local art professionals and introduce them to our students and program, which is already generating new student opportunities.”
CORRECTION: The first paragraph was reworded to better represent the story.