Linking performance, photography, illustration and sculpture, Farrell & Parkin’s elaborately constructed photographic tableaux contemplate the history of the body and mind. Drawing on a myriad of cultural and historical references – from Renaissance and Baroque religious iconography, cinema traditions, myth, and the healing focus of archaic Eastern and Western medical practices and psychiatry – these works explore the mysteries and uncertainties of the human psyche and the fragility of our existence; articulating what Farrell & Parkin have described as, ‘the perilous journey that humans take throughout life’.
Rose Farrell (1949 – 2015) & George Parkin (1949 – 2012) worked collaboratively from 1984 – 2012, creating enigmatic performative photography and video art. Their importance to Australian art history became apparent early in their career with national representation, acquisitions, and exhibitions by major public art institutions in Australia and abroad, including Black Room at the National Gallery of Victoria, 1995, the Scottish International Festival of Photography, 1995, Curious Evolution at Deakin University Gallery, 2015, and Topography of a Collaborative Mind, a major retrospective at Glen Eira City Council Gallery in 2010. Their work was curated into international exhibitions in Canada, France, Russia, Germany, the United States, and Asia, including Photographica Australis, which opened at the National Gallery of Thailand, Bangkok in 2003 and toured through Asia, 2003-04, and Science Fiction at the Singapore Art Museum, 2003. Major group exhibitions include Infinite Conversations: Asian-Australian Exchange, National Gallery of Australia, 2018; Constructed Worlds, National Gallery of Australia, 2011; The Naked Face: Self Portrait, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, 2010-2011; Role Play: Portrait Photography, NGV International, 2007-08; Heavenly Creatures, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2004-05; Second Sight: Australian Photography in the NGV, NGV Australia, 2003 and Wall to Wall, National Gallery of Australia, 1998. They held over 50 solo exhibitions and numerous group during their lifetime together.
Farrell & Parkin were the recipients of numerous awards and prizes including the 2005 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, and in 1992 and 1994 they were the recipients of the Gold Medallion at the International Photographic Salon of Japan in Tokyo. In 2006 they participated in the Red Gate Gallery International Residency Program in Beijing. They received a number of grants including an Arts Victoria, International Program – Export & Touring Grant in 2008 and an Australia China Council Grant in 2007.
Their work is held in major public collections nationally and internationally including Belgium, Canada, Portugal, Scotland, and the United States. Australian collections include the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and Artbank.