AL FARROW: DIVINE AMMUNITION
November 17, 2018–February 24, 2019
Exhibition in partnership with Catharine Clark Gallery.
Support for Al Farrow: Divine Ammunition is provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Dorothy Saxe, Susan and Lee David, Kathleen Grant and Thomas Jackson, Richard Grossman and Elly Chen, and Beverly and Peter Lipman.
Having traveled the nation, Al Farrow: Divine Ammunition comes home to San Francisco as Bay Area sculptor Al Farrow (American, b.1943) completes his most recent piece, The White House (2018). The White House, weighing almost a ton, will debut at the exhibition alongside the public premiere of Farrow’s privately commissioned work, Temple Emanuel (2017). Al Farrow: Divine Ammunition casts a striking visual commentary on the contemporary political climate, religion, war, history, culture and faith. Through the display of twenty-four of Farrow’s ornately rendered sculptures of churches, synagogues, mosques, mausolea, ritual objects and reliquaries created from munitions, the exhibition examines the relationships between religion and violence, peace and brutality, the sacred and the unholy.
The sculptures—miniatures in surprisingly ornate detail—have been described as haunting, beautiful, disturbing, powerful, mesmerizing, visceral, exquisite, and jarring. Crafted with guns and gun parts, bullets, lead shot, shell casings, steel, bone, glass, and cluster bomb, the defining contradictory words aptly portray the majesty of the arched clerestories, complexly illustrated geometric patterns, magnificently constructed flying buttresses, gables, spires and minarets that characterize the sculptures and the materials used to craft them.
Al Farrow, Bombed Mosque, 2010. Image courtesy of the artist
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Al Farrow has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than thirty years. An accomplished sculptor in a wide variety of media, Farrow generally adopts the language of a particular historical period for his work, updating the imagery or material to make cogent observations about contemporary society. In recent years he has used munitions—bullets, guns, hand grenades, bombs—to make three-dimensional projects that resemble Christian reliquaries, Islamic mosques, and Jewish synagogues.