This exhibition is a tribute to the classic albums that complimented me on the ’70s.
All my work is connected to memory, how it forms us, things common to all of us, like music, dominate us. I like that a song can bring out the long forgotten things – memories that are connected to feelings, faces, places. I usually paint still life, but going through my vintage vinyl collection seems like a natural development and I want to paint the records with which I grew up. I wanted to paint in the physical history of these records – sleeves, wear, patina, soft corners – the impression of vinyl inside pushing out on the cover. All evidence of the longevity of the last 50 or so strange years. I think the lives of these records run parallel to me, from my collection – like I’m a little worn, a little wrinkled – reflecting where I’ve been, who I am.
The response to my first ‘record’ paintings was encouraging, but there was almost always a debate as to whether I needed permission for these paintings. I see this work in terms of my still life, along with the ‘idea’ of the picture, so it wasn’t something I considered. I decided in 2019 that I would be able to answer that question – let it rest – so that people could focus on what really matters – painting, music, anything to do with it. I decided that what I really needed to do was paint a record. Thus began the album project.
So, two years later, hundreds of emails, many phone calls from around the world; I’ve connected with musicians, arrangements, labels, lawyers, statuses, cover artists; with Pink Floyd’s manager (Tim Hortons outside of me) Sitting in the parents’ car), to give Jim Steinman a package (I was in the process of getting permission to bat out of Hell when he passed away), to get permission after approval from the Robert Plant, Jimmy Page By the fall of, Bruce Springston, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Eagles, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Carol King, Jimmy Hendricks, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Elton John (to name a few)).
Two years later I need permission, live hard, the paintings that I love so much – the weight of the permission, now lifted, the focus has changed – although I know the question will still come up, As it is now part of the story.
Holly Farrell, 2021.