The Artist Perspective: Ursula O’Farrell

The Artist Perspective: Ursula O’Farrell

The Art Perspective provides a visual and audio forum for artists to exhibit their art and present exciting responses to major themes of our day. This edition of On The Issues Magazine on Abortion highlights the work of Ursula O’Farrell, whose paintings focus on the inner struggle to reaching women’s empowerment. Click on “Play” to view the art and hear audio descriptions by Ursula O’Farrell about her work. I welcome feedback from online viewers: email to [email protected]

Ursula O’Farrell is a California-based artist whose oil paintings explore themes of womanhood. Her work offers expressions of the feminine in large-scale paintings known for their bold colors, gestural strokes, thick textures and highly-charged emotional content.

The core of O’Farrell’s work addresses issues of female empowerment, focusing on the psychological underpinnings that make up human relationships. She is fascinated with the myriad emotions experienced by a woman, especially at the point of making a life-changing decision, including whether or not to bear a child. The artist expresses a woman’s inner tumult, her fears and uncertainty, even as she reaches out toward the future that she wants and knows is the best for her, a future that O’Farrell expresses with bright, shimmering colors.

She notes,

“In my painting I seek to present the pathos in a woman’s life, including her many complex relationships and situations that are part of all human experience. My gestural strokes with brush or palette knife create the thick textures and bold colors which enhance this fluidity of intense emotions.

Generally I start without preconceived ideas, applying paint and turning the canvas until I find a rhythm within the painting that resonates with my own life experiences.”

O’Farrell studied art in Italy, was awarded a scholarship to study German and Austrian expressionism, and taught on the West Coast. Her work has been exhibited at galleries, universities and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She is profiled in the book, Emotion in Motion: Paintings of Ursula O’Farrell, published in 2001 by Fine Arts Press.

O’Farrell’s solo show, “The Pursuit of Beauty,” was exhibited at the Los Gatos Museum of Art and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art in 2007. Her work can been seen on a YouTube video through Craighead Green Gallery and on her web site,

Linda Stein is Art Editor of On the Issues Magazine. She is an artist-activist, lecturer, performer, video artist and currently has a three-year solo exhibition, The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein, traveling the country through 2013, accompanied by her feminist lecture: The Chance to be Brave, The Courage to Dare. Her web site is: and her archives are at Smith College. Stein is Founding President of the non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, Have Art: Will Travel! Inc. and V.P. of the Women’s Caucus for Art. She is represented by Flomenhaft Gallery in Manhattan and Longstreth Goldberg Art in Florida. Recently, her seven-foot bronze sculpture has been sited at Portland State University in Oregon, and she is currently displaying an installation of five eight-feet windows in Downtown Crossing, Boston. Her work can also be seen on her blog, YouTube videos and website. Stein’s work addresses core issues of empowerment by focusing on the causes and effects of oppression, especially sexism, racism and homophobia — leading to Parity/Protection/Peace.