Marion Faller (1941–2014)
An extraordinary vision for ordinary things
Work by Marion Faller, Beef and Sirloin restaurant Genesee St., Cheektowaga, 1987
Images courtesy of the artist’s estate and CEPA
An exhibition and sale presented by Dean Brownrout takes place April 20–July 8, at CEPA Gallery, 617 Main Street. For more information, call 856-2717 or visit cepagallery.org.
Buffalo lost a remarkable photographic eye when Marion Faller died in 2014. Faller was an artist/photographer and longtime University at Buffalo art professor (1982–2006). She also collaborated on artistic projects with her husband, Hollis Frampton (1936–1984).
Sadly, Faller’s work, though sporadically exhibited, was not seen nearly enough during her lifetime. CEPA Gallery’s upcoming survey of the artist’s output—more than fifty years’ worth—is therefore both welcome and overdue. It includes early black and white work, pioneering xerographic work, color documentation of local cultural traditions, and a series entitled Rites of Passage, done in collaboration with Frampton. It is the most comprehensive survey of her work that has been presented; many of the works have never been shown in a gallery.
Western New Yorkers are likely most familiar with Faller’s photos of Easter egg and butter lamb displays, Halloween décor, roadside signage, and other idiosyncratic community expressions. But she also made more personal work, such as Time Capsule, a fascinating series of still lifes that present the contents of her son’s pockets, emptied on laundry day, over a period of two years.
Works by Marion Faller, from left: HEY BABY, take my picture, 1972-1975; Flora Series: Chicory, 1977.
In a statement for the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Faller stated, “My work is about how individuals and communities visually express their values, their interests, and their sense of what is important and beautiful. The subject matter is usually close to home—homes, yards, small businesses, and community buildings such as schools or churches.”
Close to home, yes. Faller was always unpretentious. But her “homey” work is far-reaching in its universal relevance and its artistic precision.