When people speak different languages, have different core beliefs, and live hundreds of thousands of miles away, how do you connect? How do they communicate and share ideas? How do they invite, or warn? In a time when writing wasn’t always an option, one thing that defies all spoken boundaries is art. My name is Meg Farrar and I am a photographer and art researcher based in New York City.
My artwork explores the relationship between identity and ones personal history. As an adoptee, I found myself struggling with my racial identity and expressing my emotions. My images take on themes that are crafted from both simple and complex narratives. I’m interested in exploring themes of race, femininity, heritage, and anxiety. Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by the idea of nature vs. nurture, and the effects of adoption on my perception of self. This has translated into intimate photos of nature, self portraits, and photos of loved ones. I pay close attention to the effect of lighting, and the ways in which colors can convey emotions. Many of my photographs convey concepts through moody tones, light, and shadows.
There is a subtlety to my more recent work, compared to my later, more conceptual work. As I move forward as a maker, I find that my interest in history and research have begun to influence my photography. Issues of ethics, culture, and climate change and topics that have began to appear in my process. One of my past series explored the history of hand painted photographs in Japan, and how the political landscape from the “Sakoku” period resulted in Japan to be viewed artistically like never before. A current project of mine is a reflection on the impacts of climate change. More specifically, I’m exploring the effects of toxic waste and pollution on the human body. The results are saturated and textural images that convey the feeling of chemical burns and suffocation. I think it is important for art to be active and promote critical thought.
I initially studied photography in university, however once learning about the problematic history and continued controversies, I was hesitant to participate in the field. The shocking roots that photography had, made me wonder what else I didn’t know about art, and how art can be used as a tool to investigate historical events, environments, religion, and politics. To an outsider, art is so shiny and colorful. It is expressive and engaging. I became fascinated with decoding art and using it as a tool, engulfing myself with visual history can often times feel like time travel.
My research encompasses the study of global arts, with a focus on the historical ties between religion, politics, and material culture. I’m very concerned with the racism and “othering” in art institutions and academia. I especially see these issues arise within the academic language and outdated terminology. Through independent research I've come to understand the connection between European art history and western colonialism. The unpacking and acknowledgment of these problematic histories is the first step in creating change. A professional goal of mine is to contribute to a more inclusive and diverse environment for art.
Moving forward I’m really focused on pushing myself as a researcher, and absorbing as much informationI can through education and exploration. A common theme between both of my practices is that they are ethically motivated. In a sense, I’m interested in human struggle, but as an attempt to heal and move forward. It is critical that my work is guided by a desire to uncover narratives and conversation.