Art Review: Gary Farrelly’s Terminal Compositions: Surface Play, Ready to Depart

Founded by mother-son team of Susan Roth Romans and Jordan Roth, Ro2 Art’s earnestness and entrepreneurial pluck has contributed to a wide-net program – occasionally inventive, but also inconsistent. The latest show, Terminal Compositions, features works by Irish artist Gary Farrelly, whose collage, mixed-media pieces show bird’s-eye views of various international airport terminals or illustrate through text the complex systems those architectural structures house, such as a recreated departure schedule. Organizational systems, both informational and architectural, are part of Farrelly‘s interest, but a careful inspection of his pieces’ surfaces – overlaid type, color and ink, numbers and letters semi-hidden beneath the surface – open the work to painterly considerations.

Metaphor aside, the measured, elegant design of the terminals seem a way for Farrelly to organize his aesthetic project, novel forms that allow him to pick-up Jasper Johns’ concerns of blending the visceral and expressive potential of surface with cultural iconography, while revisiting early abstracting with the machine-inspired approach of a Paul Kelpa or Francis Picabia. In the corner of each piece, the seemingly obligatory nod to the market: a cargo stamp claiming the piece as a future art historical artifact. That flight isn’t booked just yet for Farrelly, but he at least feels like an artist who knows his way to the ticket counter.