Alysha Farling Artist in Residence
2015 Visual Arts Camosun College
Collecting “bits” is an ongoing process for artist Alysha Farling. “Anything can be material”, she says. Look at her work and see china cups, plastic spoons, ear buds, hair, buttons, fur, fish bones, moss, glue gobs, foam eruptions, popcorn, cigarette butts…
The streets are her collecting grounds and every day Farling is hustling’ up little crumbs, transforming bits of garbage into surfaces and structures shaped with chicken wire, papier mâché cardboard, fabric rubber and hot glue.
The house, according to Bachelard in The Poetics of Space is “the human’s being’s first world, it is body and soul.” Farling’s combination of architectural and visceral forms compose a “House-Body” with doors, windows, staircases and balconies but also and more terrifying a house-woman with legs, guts, holes, hair and eyes. The holes reveal a dark cave like interior alluding to tension between hollow and solid, inner and outer. Perhaps further in is a secret house hidden inside the house, where an altercation between body and penetration, like an act of sex and birth takes place.
Farling’s family house of her childhood is a source of inspiration and she also cites The Borrowers, a children’s fantasy novel by English author Mary Norton, published by Dent in 1952 as influential. It features a family of tiny people who live secretly behind the walls of an English house and “borrow” from the big people in order to survive. Farling, like the tiny Borrowers, repurposes objects to create new forms and values. Local artists and visitors to Farling’s studio contributed to her bits collection – little containers of psychic memories haunting the houses.
Farling’s numerous sketchbooks contain her physical experiences and sustain her ideas. She talks about a magical, tactile, growing desire to be closer, to be inside the structures she builds – what’s next for her may result in larger walk-inside-caves or interactive grown-up playgrounds