Biography: Mary Farmer
“When art is in your soul, you simply cannot breathe unless you are painting.”
Mary Farmer‘s every breath reflects that of an accomplished, seasoned artist. Following in the footsteps of such renowned painters as Jasper Johns, she chose the unique medium of encaustic painting to express herself artistically to the world. Her pieces explore a wide range of content, possibilities and personal history. Using one of the most innovative methods of painting, Farmer melts beeswax and colored pigments into liquid/paste and then applies the hot mixture to a white panel. She labors through hours of sculpting and layering to build vibrant images into masterful works of art.
Farmer notes, “I love to work closely with other encaustic painters; we see ourselves as the Alchemists of the twenty-first century.”
Her technique is rather unconventional as she often uses watercolor in her process. This technique provides a beautiful, dreamy “under painting” for her layering effects. She also mixes her own pigments and incorporates handmade paper, raw pigment, graphite, and oil stick within the many layers of her paintings. Farmer is a known teacher and safety expert; she teaches both novice and experienced encaustic artists on various aspects of the technique including the careful handling of materials.
Farmer’s raw talent combined with her continuing dedication to creating new and impressive works is reflected in her rising status in the encaustic community. Her work has been featured in such publications as: American Art Collector, Embracing Encaustic, Novato Advance, Embracing Encaustic, The Peoria Star Journal, WNC Woman, Laurel of Asheville, and the Marin Independent Journal. Farmer constantly strives to grow as an artist, seeing new images in her mind that she deems transferable to her canvas.
Farmer’s work is included in the collections of MCI World Communications, Atlanta Gas Light, World Marriott Orlando, and The Atlanta College of Art amongst other important private collections throughout the country. She has participated in juried exhibitions in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Prescott AZ, and Laredo, Texas. Farmer was the proud recipient of the Atlanta College of Art's Presidential Scholarship. She won an award at the 10th International Juried Exhibition at The Laredo Center for the Arts and another at The Postcard Show at Lincoln Center in New York.
A solo show of Changing Coasts, Farmer’s exploration of her new hometown will open in early 2009. Farmer’s work has been featured in group shows including the International Encaustic Invitational in Tucson in 2006/07/08. The Annual Juried Exhibition of Marin Artists in San Rafael, CA in 2004, the National Juried Exhibition in San Francisco in 2003 and the Expression Without Limitation, Show in Atlanta in 2000.
“My mind is most at ease when I am painting. The preparation of the panels, the application of paint, observing the changes of each piece as I proceed…these are all very, very satisfying,” says Farmer.
Farmer obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Georgia State University after beginning her degree program at the Atlanta College of Art. She has completed several encaustic workshops and certificate programs in New York and San Francisco. She is an affiliate of International Encaustic Artists (IEA), an organization that brings encaustic painters together to share, connect and collaborate on projects. Select members of this group including Farmer participated in a 2007 show at the Las Vegas Contemporary Art Center, a 2008 show at Cain Schulte Contemporary Art in San Francisco and she is participating in the ongoing Diptych Project that pairs an IEA artist with a NEW (New England Wax) artist. This affiliation has Farmer participating in exhibitions that bring this work to a vast number of encaustic art devotees and to those unfamiliar with the medium but who are immediately curious about it when they encounter it.
Mary Farmer lives in Asheville, North Carolina and has a studio dedicated to support a constant flow of her creative juices. Mary and her husband, Michael, travel often to new and exotic places, “We both have a touch of gypsy in our souls” and she has a particular affinity for New York, Paris, Portland (both) and New Zealand. She attended the Havana Biennale in March 2006. They have traveled to hike the Italian Alps, the West Coast of Ireland and much of New Zealand’s South Island. Visiting Italy, France, etc to ramble through galleries and museums taking in as much art as possible is a favorite endeavor. Farmer hopes to visit Morocco soon, “the colors seem so vibrant and I have a notion of the spicy smells”, where she will visit the ancient cities and hike the Atlas Mountains.