MANNY FARBER’S paintings are driven by a relentless engagement with process more than a desire to speak of film or flowers. The viewer is pulled up close by messages scribed into the paint, alternately deadpan and unexpectedly revealing, surly and self-deprecating. The missives record the nagging details of composing a painting, things that need to be done, fragments of conversation, and the anxious and very funny narratives of dreams.
Scattered across the paintings like untethered thoughts and ebullient wise cracks, these dispatches conspire with the wily, witty, and far from chance encounters of objects to discombobulate the observer. Here exposed to the eavesdropping eye, the notes take time to read. Lingering over the writing, the viewer is immersed in passages of painting, enveloped emphatically in the artist’s process of looking, of making an image. With an impressive variety of fruit, flowers, rebar rods and old-master pictures as his props, his table-top compositions are a feast to behold. The perspective is distinct as he arranges objects on a horizontal surface that is lifted upright for display. With each composition there seems to be no end to what Farber is able to do with his unusual way of seeing.