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JOHN FARNSWORTH  PAINTER / PHOTOGRAPHER
PO Box 1962 / Ranchos de Taos / New Mexico / 87557 / 505.982.4561 / info@johnfarnsworth.com
PHAEDRUS
Acrylic on Canvas
40" X 40"
Sold

Collection:
ARCO
Los Angeles
ARTSPACE
April, 1981
by Donald Locke

...John Farnsworth was born in Williams, Arizona and at the age of nine, when he saw paintings on display in art galleries in Taos, he decided that he was going to be a painter. He has had no formal training but after doing all sorts of jobs, the last of which he said was grandly titled Preparator at the Museum of Northern Arizona, he decided in 1967 that he was only a painter and that he should practice it full-time. Like the Cowboy artist, Farnsworth says that subject matter is "engraved in my nature." He must have a subject, and when he lived among the Indians and loved them so much that he wanted to be one, naturally he painted Indians. Although the paintings were well observed, he admits that his attitude was terribly romantic, "like the movies."

But Farnsworth is a person of deep inner intelligence. the subject dissatisfied him and he began painting Kachina dolls. These were like abstract paintings and they too gave way to what one can only call a discovery of the inner soul, the subject matter which served as the perfect medium of expression of all that he knew himself to be. PHAEDRUS is his latest work. Farnsworth was reading Robert Pirsig's book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and somehow the book got mixed up with the painting still in progress. Among a lot of things, Pirsig's book is a penetrating comment on the notion of the interchangeability between writer and hero. A unique einfulung on the part of Farnsworth as reader resulted in a rare literary menage a quatre, comprised of writer and hero, painter and model. In the manner of so many great artists before him, Farnsworth is Phaedrus -- in the painting, that is. they are joined by deep links; they are both western animals and are as immutably transfixed within that unseen landscape to which they belong as are rocks and hills and canyons. PHAEDRUS is a creation which traces its lineage through history, through the Dutch animal painters, especially Paulus Potter, clear back to Egypt and to those dark caves at Altamira. John Berger notes that cows were probably the first things ever painted by man and PHAEDRUS is of that company.

Phaedrus is a holy animal who accepts his status with philosophical calm, because behind him on his right is his alter ego, the perfect foil to his studied calm and contentment, a Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jekyll. This is the artist's discovery after the painting was well on the way, and one has no difficulty accepting this psycho-literary reading of the painted images. In fact, it is very easy to read all the various characters portrayed as different facets of the artist's self. the appropriateness of this anthropomorphism is all the more secure when we recall that this bovine colloquium refers to Plato's Phaedrus, one of whose topics is the immortality and, more importantly, the transmigration of the soul. Meanwhile, for the dyed-in-the-wool formalists who might question the treatment of the various subplots, the centerpiece of the picture, that massive neck and dewlap of this godly Phaedrus, its concentrated, monumental modeling, calls for more than a second look. It also demands that it be not taken for cowboy Art.

...upon close examination we discover that it is the light which is really the subject under study. the artist fastens on this and transfixes it firmly within the artistic consciousness, resulting in a highly and uniquely sensitive rendering. Farnsworth says of his painting that he was struggling for three months to make a statement about "the not-so-white white of the White Bull.

...These statements came naturally, unforced from the artists, and the paintings agree that this is no PR posturing. we are face to face with the formal, artistic concerns of the artist.
PEEK
Oil on Canvas
48" x 48"
Sold
MOTHER COWS
Oil on Canvas
36" x 36"
Sold
WHISPER
Oil on Canvas
50" x 40"
SOLD
WHITEFACE
Oil on Canvas
48" x 96"
Sold

Collection:
Wells Fargo Bank
Featured in: LEADING THE WEST Northland press by Don Hagerty p. 147

BULLY (SUNNING BULL)

Oil on panel

12" x 16"

SOLD

BULL
Oil on Canvas
24" x 48"
SOLD
Featured in:

SOUTHWEST ART
The Magazine for Today's Collector

By Lynn Pyne
May, 2000

Pages 111,117,118
"...Following is an introduction to seven artists of the new West, each forging their own brand of western art and bringing the genre into the new century."

One of the first sights travelers encounter at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, AZ, is a 20-by-30 foot mural depicting a Wild West stagecoach by John Farnsworth. the artist has deep roots in the West, having been raised along the Santa Fe Railroad and in the logging camps of northern Arizona.

Even so, it would be a mistake to label Farnsworth a western artist -- he doesn't fit easily into any niche. Farnsworth painted American Indians until that subject became so popular that he moved on, to horses, cattle, dogs, landscapes, Hopi Kachinas, and still lifes. Those subjects could be western but are not necessarily so. The horse paintings encompass Arabians, racehorses, rodeo stock, and equine images from European old-master works. The artist may focus narrowly on the colors and shapes of particular design elements, such as horses' heads, rather than taking a traditional view. Working primarily in oil and watercolor, Farnsworth maintains balance by moving between large, developed pieces and smaller, spontaneous ones. He lives in New Mexico, where he and his wife, Thea, operate Farnsworth Gallery Taos.
HISTORY, MYSTERY, LEISURE, PLEASURE
Acrylic on Canvas
40" x 50"
Sold
Also featured in this article:
Longhorn Study 1
Image 5 x 10 inches
SOLD
Longhorn Study 2
Image 5 x 10 inches
SOLD
Longhorn Study 3
STOLEN from Our Taos Gallery along with a Georgia O'keeffe Album
LONGHORN BULL
Oil on Canvas
24" x 48"
Sold
Available as a giclée print
A mix-up in mediums caused this earlier version, LONGHORN BULL II, to dry too slowly, so, in order to meet the agreed upon deadline, I painted the second version, which went to the hotel. The first version, when dry, was sold through our Taos Gallery.
"I'm afraid you've got cows, Mr. Farnsworth."

People have been sending me this cartoon for years. Just thought I'd let you know... I already have it. Thanks to all who've sent it or thought of me when they saw it. As far as I know, it's pure coincidence.
jf
STEERS
Oil on Canvas
48" x 36"
Sold
This was the first of my paintings of cattle. It won Best of Show and the Purchase Award at the State Capitol Celebration of the Arts Exhibit in 1980.
STEERS
(detail)
Bully
This Is a Serigraph, or Screen Print, Which I Made the Old Fashioned Way-by Hand-with Printer John Armstrong in Phoenix Back in the '80s. It Is Not a Photo Reproduction Screen Print. It is loosely based on the painting on the left.

For Information, Call Thea at 505.982.4561

SUNNING BULLS

Oil on panel

12" x 16"

SOLD

 

 

CATTLE PAINTINGS

BETTY’S COWS
Watercolor
12 x 16 Inches
Sold

ART YOU CAN LIVE WITH

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