The latest exhibition of local artist Brian Farrell opened in the Gasyard Centre on the Lecky Road in Derry last Saturday night. Farrell, whose work is heavily influenced by the likes of Kevin Bacon and Egon Schiele has developed a distinct style of his own.

With titles such as Fighter, Underdog Fear, Angst, Attitude, Nerve, Whisper and Sock, Brian knows not just what it’s like to struggle as an artist but is also emphasises with those who are struggling with life.

His work is heavily influenced by events of today such as the war in Syria or the migrant crisis; only instead of a TV camera or a newspaper he uses a canvas and paints to show his reaction to the world around him.

All the horror and the anguish and the desperation of it all comes bouncing back at the onlooker in each face that looks back at you. At play are not just the horrors we look at every day on the news but also the hurt and despair that we all face in our own lives. With the financial crisis and unemployment and poverty around us so commonly today, are there any of us looking at this work who can’t find a piece of ourselves in this work.

Painting primarily with oils and pastels in predominantly reds and whites and black and grey there’s a prevailing sense of danger and anger that people are faced with in the world today. There’s a sense that Farrell gets it; that he sees the world around him and throws it up there for all to see.

Also in this work however is the enduring hope that things will get better, that all is not lost in the world. There are pieces included in the collection that are a bit more playful, drawn from themes like science fiction.

This is a collection which is both startlingly and stark, yet unique and beautiful. In short it’s humanity on a canvas.

Underdogs by Brian Farrell is on display at the Gasworks Centre in Derry until September 8th. Thanks to Brian Farrell for permission to photograph his work