Geoffrey Farmer creates installation-based artworks using combinations of a broad range of elements, including: drawing, photography, video, sculpture, performance, and found materials. Farmer’s work offers an exceptionally subtle take on the legacies of minimalist and postminimalist art. Minimalism emphasized the artwork's ability to instill in the viewer a powerful sense of their own presence; Farmer's work begins with this idea of the art gallery as a site of phenomenological experience. Postminimalism represents a refinement of minimalism in the way it emphasizes the role the gallery context plays in creating the meaning of an artwork. Farmer adds to both traditions by focusing on the contingent nature of meaning itself, especially emphasizing its fragile and elusive nature. Contingency in Farmer's art extends to the strategies he devises to foster a self-reflexive engagement with his work. Whereas minimalist artists, such as Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, were said by art critic Michael Fried to theatricalize the gallery-going experience, Farmer uses the idioms of theatre and performance as analogies of the process of meaning construction. This places him within the international trend, in which "installation art is a theatrical set without a stage play to give it meaning." For instance, Farmer's piece Hunchback Kit (2000-7 at the Tate uses a hard shell case with custom foam insert to house props for the staging performances of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Farmer creates the art exhibition as a set of components made available for the viewer's interpretation. In this process, he casts himself in the role of the 'artist', continuing to add to and transform an exhibition during the time it is on view. In For Every Jetliner Used in an Artwork… (2006), for instance, Farmer presented a video in the exhibition of himself working to alter an installation during the night while the show is closed. By explicitly portraying the exhibition as being 'in process', Farmer ensures that "a degree of openness and instability is built in to his work." According to Mark Clintberg writing in The Drawing Room, London for Canadian Art International Farmer's work The Last Two Million Years(2007), takes the ephemerality of time as its theme, making small delicate sculptures from the pages of an Encyclopedia. Creating hybrid figurative objects out of disparate historical time periods, Farmer undoes the fixity of museological display and the agreed sequence of historical events. In 2013, Farmer was awarded the Gershon Iskowitz Prize for his outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada. He is represented by the Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.
Every Letter in the Alphabet
A year-long project commissioned on the occasion of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver, Farmer's Every Letter in the Alphabet (2010) is located in a storefront space in the city. Farmer commissioned twenty-six language-based works, one for every letter of the alphabet, including readings performances and poster projects to appear in the space, and throughout the city, during 2010.
- Geoffrey Farmer by Pierre Landry, Jessica Morgan, Scott Watson (Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal / ABC Art Books, 2008)
- Geoffrey Farmer by Thierry Davila, Diedrich Diederichsen, Vanessa Desclaux, Geoffrey Farmer (Witte de With, 2008)
- Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam Archived 2008-05-26 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 16, 2010
- Tate online Archived 2010-12-18 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 16, 2010
- Frieze.com Archived 2011-02-24 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 15, 2010
- Mark Clintberg, Canadian Art International Archived 2011-01-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 16, 2010
- "Vancouver's Geoffrey Farmer wins prestigious art prize". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- PressReader - Vancouver Sun: 2009-11-28 - Feenie faces off tonight in Canadian Culinary Championships
- Geoffrey Farmer: From Poor Materials to Rich Themes - Canadian Art
- Public art | City of Vancouver
- CV and bibliography, pdf
- Geoffrey Farmer at Catriona Jeffries Gallery
- Geoffrey Farmer at Johnen Gallery, Berlin
- Geoffrey Farmer at the National Gallery of Canada
- Geoffrey Farmer at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
- Geoffrey Farmer, Canadian Art, Winter, 2007
- Art Forum review, September 2008
- Geoffrey Farmer at Kadist Art Foundation