Em Farquhar-Barrie

Em Farquhar-Barrie is an emerging artist from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Certificate in Cultural and Artistic Practices for Environmental and Social Justice (CAP).

Artist Statement

Through abstraction and therapeutic expression, I have established a strong focal point surrounding the significant themes of space and place. ‘Space’ can often be defined, as an abstract location while the concept of ‘place’ differs being a location that thrives on the constructions of social connections and human experience.

Following my upbringing in and around Peterborough and the Kawartha Lakes, my current location within the City of Toronto, remains to be a space of discomfort and uncertainty. While everything around us has been designed and thoroughly thought about, urban space can often be a harsh environment in which many people feel unwelcomed. In my work, I explore personal experiences of navigating urban spaces at the same time that cities continue to be depicted as an image rather than a physical place that we all encompass. The navigational process of locating myself within the spaces I inhabit has become an expressive communication tool in which I reflect upon personal experiences in relation to time, place, and identity.

While the forms that make up my work suggest systems or structures, they are also meant to reflect time and my own hand in the work. The shapes and lines of my work emphasize the development of urban areas in conjunction with the linear networks of the brain. Violence is inflicted by the intersecting experiences of urban and personal transitions in which I feel that safety might be at risk. Rushing through the ongoing demands of society, the sense of becoming lost overwhelms me as I commute, or emerge, into the city.

I am intrinsically attracted to the alternating chaos and serenity of the human condition. Through documenting the rhizomatic growth of architectural and urban models, I am seeking to express constant contradictions of the imperfections that complete us amidst the patterns and hierarchies that define us.

As I invite viewers to get lost in traveling through my expressive urban landscapes, it is likely that the process of viewing and understanding the work could become overwhelming. It is my intention to leave my work open to various interpretations, striving to connect with others and raise conversations about the distressing experiences that occur on the complex journey of self-discovery.

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