Donald & Era Farnsworth
Mythos II, 2006/109
Jacquard tapestry
109 x 72 in.
edition of 10

Donald Farnsworth and Era Hamaji Farnsworth’s artwork reconciles classically Western themes and techniques with an appreciation for what art historian Mark Levy terms the great Void, a concept central to Eastern philosophies. Their ongoing series of restorations are based on centuries-old religious images – from Tibetan thangkas and mandalas to Old Master scenes from the life of Christ – which the artists manipulate to varying degrees, from merely repainting missing and damaged areas to removing entire figures from the composition. This endeavor dovetails with the artists’ environmental concerns: the images used in restorations such as the Mythos series are edited and transformed with an eye towards bringing nature to the foreground. The human figures, whose symbolic status as avatars of God often endows them with a supernatural significance, are erased – or to put it another way, they surrender to the Void. In their absence, the viewer realizes the beauty of the surrounding landscape, which might otherwise be ignored or taken for granted. The restorations imply that the faded fragments of the East and the solid monuments of the West are equally evanescent – that the transcendent moments of beauty achieved by the art of both East and West are actually brief glimpses into the same Void.
– Nick Stone