Al Farrow

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Al Farrow has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than four decades. An accomplished sculptor in a wide variety of media, Farrow generally adopts the visual language of a particular historical period for his work, updating the imagery or material to make cogent observations about contemporary society.

One notable early project by Farrow is based on bowls buried with the dead in the Mimbres Valley of New Mexico. Nearly a thousand years ago, the indigenous culture living in that region created ceramics with geometric designs of the natural world in black and white patterns. In Farrow’s Mimbres Bowl Series, he meticulously renders military imagery in a traditional style like that of the Mimbres people, using a single reed brush to paint geometric patterns on the interiors of bowls, creating them in a way that resembles the original ceramics.

In the past twenty years, Farrow has created a body of work titled Reliquaries, in which he uses munitions—bullets, guns, hand grenades, bombs—to make three-dimensional projects that resemble the architecture of Christian reliquaries, Islamic mosques, and Jewish synagogues.

Al Farrow’s work is currently on view (January 11 – March 23, 2024) in a three-person exhibit titled What’s At Stake (with Masami Teraoka and Zeina Barakeh) at the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, Oregon. The exhibit explores the impact of war on the work of the artists who hail from three different regions of the world. The exhibit will be accompanied by a catalogue. Form 2015 – 2019, Farrow’s work was the subject of a travelling exhibition, Al Farrow: Wrath and Reverence, which debuted at The Forum Gallery, New York, subsequently traveling to the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; 21c, Louisville, KY; Bellevue Arts Museum, Washington; the Art Museum at University of Wyoming, Laramie; Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, CA; the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, TX; and the Southern Utah Museum of Art, Cedar City, UT. Portions of the exhibit were later shown at Catharine Clark Gallery accompanied by the addition of a newer work: White House. A monograph on Al Farrow’s career, published by the Crocker Art Museum, accompanied the traveling exhibition.

In 2008, Farrow’s work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the de Young Museum, San Francisco Fine Arts Museum, and accompanied by a monograph also published by the museum. The Spine and Tooth of Santo Guerro (2007), one of Farrow’s largest Christian cathedrals from the Reliquary Series, is often on view at the De Young Museum, where it purported to be a favorite of innumerable viewers.

Farrow’s work is included in the public collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA: the San Jose Museum of Art, CA; 21c, Louisville, KY; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA; the Crocker Art Museum, CA; Sain John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Los Angeles; and the state collection of Israel.

In addition to many exhibitions in the US, Farrow’s work has also been exhibited in Europe and was represented by Aeroplastics, a gallery in Brussels, Belgium.

Farrow lives and works in Marin County, CA and has been represented by Catharine Clark Gallery since 1994.