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Over the Moon: the electic art of Ann Farnsley

Ann Farnsley moved to Vevay in 1970. She consciously chose to make her career as an artist in an unlikely place, a small river town called Vevay, Indiana, tucked away along the Ohio River halfway between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky. An early picture of her in her studio already shows her on her way to an independent life.  Her unique path guided by the freedom that her imagination allowed, she followed her spirit in a search that opened windows and doors to a career as an artist that is a noteworthy achievement.  Her strength to do things differently, to change and grow, and yet maintain her belief, her values, her sense of fun and play that made her an infectious presence is admirable.  Her ability to juggle many tasks from taking care of horses to running a business all the while maintaining her studio practice makes her a model.


Important to her and her artmaking were community, both past and present, a sense of love and a joy deeply connected to the natural world and the environment. She also possessed a spiritual concern that allied her with earlier artists of the 20th century but was not predominant in the art world of her time.   To fully appreciate her work, it is helpful to understand how these things played out in the oeuvre she created.


She developed a complete personal cosmology that accommodated the many layers of her personality, allowing her to keep her serious work and her inner child.


What is called eclectic, because of its many threads of realistic portraiture, expressive landscape painting, non-representational abstraction, involvement with crafts, particularly ceramics and fiber art, her writing, set design, cartooning and most important her idiosyncratic “spacescapes” is not random or unconsidered, but instead a remarkable multi-track integration of Ann Farnsley living her own independent and unique life in art.


In living her life as an artist, Ann Farnsley was always exploring her environment, - physical, social, metaphorical, spiritual. She could talk to the animals, take on a commission, fly with a Spaceman, ride a horse on the wind, and be friends with most everyone.


Her persona dominates her work, most often hovering, protective yet mysterious, living in a universe that is only limited by the imagination, inviting the viewer to come fly with her, over the moon and into a universe of their own making.


Her vision making her viewers happy, her love of nature, her commitment to abstraction and her belief in art as a spiritual activity was with her till her passing.  An independent artist working in a place she loved in the manner she invented to allow her spirit to thrive.


Above is the unfinished painting on her easel at her death on All Hallows Eve 2021.


Found among her things by her brother following her death is a work foreshadowing her death and cremation, Her spirtself and her horse still traveling in the realm of imagination.


R.I.P.  Ann Farnsley


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