Mia Farrington’s abstract paintings always begin with precise color selection. The Portland-based artist fills her raw canvasses with organic, delicately jagged forms that each contain exquisitely rendered hues mimicking and expanding upon complex shades of nature. In her most recent series, Farrington chooses one color and experiments with adjacent, muted variations for separate shapes. Leaving large areas of canvas exposed and untouched, Farrington creates impassioned dialogues between the different iterations of her chosen colors.
“My brain is constantly searching for color in the natural world and oftentimes I don’t even realize it’s happening until the paintings begin, and I realize the colors I’m using are a product of what I’ve been experiencing visually in my surroundings.” — Mia Farrington
“There is so much color everywhere you look, it doesn’t always have to be vibrant or energetic. Sometimes some of the most common things we see on a daily basis can exude some of the most beautiful color, if we just take the time to experience it.” — Mia Farrington
Farrington’s acute application of color relationships informs the playful irregularities in her forms. After choosing a central color, Farrington sketches out different orientations and shape interactions before she commits to drawing outlines on her canvas.
“I use a thin, flexible type of tape to actually draw the forms on. With the tape, I really only have so much control, and oftentimes it almost takes on a life of its own and becomes something that I wasn’t expecting. If I had it in my mind of how I wanted it to form or how I wanted it to look, so many times it ends up being totally different in such an unexpected and exciting way.” — Mia Farrington
The element of chance and comfortability with the unexpected contrasts with the stark composure of Farrington’s finished paintings. Her work actively interrogates gendered expectations, indulging in minor flaws and aberrations that distinctly come from human creation. Absolving herself from a culture that expects picture-perfect behavior from women, Farrington’s paintings are cathartic expressions of proud imperfection.
The formalist beauty of Farrington’s work gives way to thoughtful interrogations on how we perceive daily life. Through highlighting otherwise prosaic colors, rendered on textured, raw canvas, Farrington revitalizes the everyday, shifting our focus to the surprising allure of forms and colors that exist all around us.