Divine Ammunition

16 Dec 2016 — 7 May 2017 at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, United States

Divine Ammunition. Courtesy of Bellevue Arts Museum
Divine Ammunition. Courtesy of Bellevue Arts Museum
28 APR 2017

Using guns and ammunition, Al Farrow creates sculptures of reliquaries, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, mausoleums, and other devotional objects. The surprising inventiveness and the technical tour-de-force of his craftsmanship are highlighted in this exhibition of works drawn from private and public collections. The artist denigrates no one belief in his work, being mindful, discriminating, and probing toward all. His striking composite depictions of religious architectural structures are meticulously realized and perfectly scaled. Each work gives new meaning to its materials. Gun-barrel towers and domes built of bullets not only compel the viewer to consider the present, but also recall the history of conflict. The artist's material choices may be jarring, but they also provoke awe and inspire reflection.

By repurposing second-hand firearms and ammunition, Farrow adopts weapons as a medium to illuminate the dark side of various forms of organized religion. With their division of people into saved and damned, brethren or infidels, chosen or forsaken, his mosques, cathedrals, and synagogues are a reminder of how often faith has served as a justification for war. But Farrow's Divine Ammunition goes beyond that, hinting at an essential connection between dogma and death.

Sculptor Al Farrow has had numerous solo exhibitions since 1970, and is currently represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. His work has been in group shows at the Oakland Art Gallery, the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, Falkirk Cultural Center in Marin, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, among many others. He has over 20 years of bronze casting experience. His work is in many important public and private collections around the world, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the di Rosa Preserve in Napa, and other collections in New York, Germany, Italy, and Hong Kong.