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A striking show at the Arts Forum called “Pros and Cons”, both amply represented in Bob Farquhar’s extraordinary and personally experienced prison and street-life images. The expressionist lineage traces back to Kokoschka via Bob’s teacher Christine Berg. It was a moving and privileged experience to join Bob Farquhar (left, with Rod Harman) when he came to talk about his life and work at the Arts Forum, where he is showing a series of new works entitled Pros and Cons. His life as a con began as a “wild gypsy boy” sent for taming to the Scrubs and Borstal, followed by half an adult lifetime struggling for selfhood, first against the prison system and later against the Bond Street galleries that tried to turn his formidable talent into a commodity. We entered the presence of a rare combination of raw, intense emotion (close to tears when talking of his first sight, at 14, of a Cezanne image) and intellectual precision on themes of solitariness and the comradeship of the oppressed, music as a force in his own symphonies in greys, and the struggle between the influence of knowledge and the need to be oneself. (RL, July 2010)

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Posted 19:38 Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 In: Visual Arts

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