Danica Farran

Ceramic and Mixed Media Art

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Danica Farran is an artist who works in three dimensions. She has come recently to art  after a long career in the construction industry, the influence of which becomes apparent in her choices of materials. She uses semi industrial materials which are generally used for protective purposes and are often cast aside once their original purpose is completed, such as plastic safety netting, protective plastic sheeting, plastic fencing and wire meshes. 


On the surface one might see obvious connections with the ideas of transformation and also a reaction to the throw away nature of society today in the choice and use of the materials referencing the Arte Povera Movement and Sculptors such as Michaelangelo Pistoletto and Gabriel Ortega but these do not actually represent her core concerns that lie within the nature of the materials themselves and the process and act of making.


The physical properties of the materials appear important to her, this can be seen in the way she works the materials using their inherent properties of malleability, flexibility,  memory and weight to create the eventual shapes that emerge.


The physical performance of creating the piece and the essence of movement is captured in her finished works which are, in one sense kinetic, yet at the same time not actually  physically moving, bringing to mind the works of Tony Cragg which have kinetic qualities yet are not moving. Her work can also be likened to the medium of performance and dance in the way the works are created in a single working session using gesture and movement in a free yet moderated way.

Danica uses minimal fixings in her work and also tries to work in as long a length of material as possible that works for a particular piece, these self-imposed rules mean that there is a rigorous preplanning process to allow the work to be created in one working session. This calls to mind the method famously described by Sol LeWitt: "When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art".


Her current piece "Labyrinth" uses her favoured white plastic mesh fencing. She has created a series of extrusions that soar to the ceiling set on the ground in arcs. Each extrusion is part of a pair that has been created from one 20m length of material with very minimal, almost invisible cable tie fixings. The arcs have been sited to allow the viewer to experience the work both passively from without or participate from within, through being able to walk through the work and to stop and reflect.


The arcs that are formed bring to mind the arcs and lines formed in Le Corbusier's Le Modular. This links with the main source of inspiration in her works which comes from the natural world. The worlds of science and nature are very important to Danica. She is attuned to the natural forms, patterns and rhythms of nature that surround all of us and finds them in her manmade materials and in the form of her work. Her works are also  often located in nature, in rural settings, however unlike the work of Richard Long whose materials reflect and are part of nature itself, Farran's materials sit in stark contrast to their surroundings, yet the forms mirror those found in nature.

There are evident architectural qualities to her work, which from certain aspects recall the work of Vladimir Tatlin, but these are not structures with a purpose or an agenda other than to allow people to find space. The notion of sanctuary features large in her work, she explains "the idea of somewhere to escape to or from, somewhere peace can be found or you can just be. The perforations in the materials, the multiple layers and the siting of the pieces provide those spaces and opportunities – the space in between, where moments of sanctuary can be found."