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Riki Rafner

The Commonwealth Club of California Farmer Gallery Showcases: The Works of Bay Area Artist Ryan Farley

“Afterthoughts” January 15 through March 29, 2019

San Francisco (Jan. 24, 2019)—The Commonwealth Club continues its tradition of showcasing the work of local artists at its headquarters based at 110 The Embarcadero.   The pieces are being displayed on a rotating basis in the Club’s new Farmer Gallery based on the Lobby Level of its new building.  With funds from Tawnie and John Farmer, former Chair of the Commonwealth Club Board, The Club was able to establish a gallery space with proper lighting and a professional hanging system.  The Club is currently pleased to present  “Afterthoughts”  paintings of Ryan Farley now  through March 31, 2019.

Artist Ryan Farley noted about this series, “Guided by my experiences and a multifaceted study of human connection, I explore manifestations of interpersonal connectivity and enrich my understanding of their implications in the greater human experience. These immaterial subjects are fascinating to me and have a relationship to contextualizing my own social desires and shortcomings, and to learn about ways to encourage meaningful connection with and between others in a world that is increasingly feeling separate.

"The work included in the Afterthoughts suite is inspired by moments of locking eyes with others in passing and the afterthoughts that follow. When I encounter these moments, I briefly wonder about the other: What is their life like? Would we get along? Are they having the same interactional experience? Though it may come across as awkward, it’s an essential trait that has roots in many social species."

Farley also comments that he was inspired by a hitchhiking journey he made in the summer of 2010 which totaled over 6000 miles around the United States.  He said he became frustrated “from unexpectedly awkward or abrasive interactions with strangers that he assumed were caused by his appearance as a homeless transient….Having been faced with this so often forced me to reflect on the importance of pro-social connections throughout all of our lives and eventually ponder existential questions… Through this journey I found myself longing for genuine and compassionate human connections.”    
Farley says that his hope with his work, which combines photographic manipulation and printmaking, is to encourage understanding and a deeper awareness of our shared humanity to promote civil discourse. Exploring themes surrounding human connection allows for a feeling of reverence in regards to my relation to the Earth and to the greater human collective.”

Curator of the Club’s exhibits Lynn Curtis observes, “Farley’s work is both mysterious and curious.  The way in which he intertwines something which we all experience but cannot see is extremely provocative.  His use of color, lines and printmaking to express what we are thinking is particularly absorbing.”   

About the Artist:

Ryan Farley’s artworks exhibit nationally and internationally, with his most recent work having been accepted into the Premio Combat Prize 2018 finalist’s exhibition in Livorno, Italy.  He holds current memberships with the California Society of Printmakers, Mid-America Print Council, and Southern Graphics Council International. He has previously been an associate instructor of printmaking and has served as the research, teaching and printing assistant to the head of printmaking at Indiana University. Farley holds an MFA in printmaking from the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Indiana University, Bloomington.

About Lynn Curtis:

Longtime Commonwealth Club volunteer and artist herself Lynn Curtis has curated over 40 of the Club’s exhibitions since 2007.  Curtis produced exhibits in the Gold Room of the Club’s former office space at 595 Market Street from 2008 through 2014.

Curtis noted, “I love looking at art and looking for artists.  It’s an exciting adventure seeking these visual treasures.  Open Studios in the Bay Area provides a great opportunity to visit the artists where they work.” Curtis also frequents local galleries, mines local papers, and receives recommendations of those she meets at the Club. About the work she chooses to display she says “All of them must be honest, with a unique insight.  The winners draw me to them.”

Curtis, a native of Pennsylvania, attended the College of the Arts in Oakland, known as the College of Arts and Crafts.  She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the first and oldest art school and museum in this country, established in 1805. She says she is indebted to the classical training she received there which, in fact, is the substance of her art background.

Notes Curtis, “The exhibition program is a continuation of the purpose of the Club: to expose the public to new thoughts and ideas as a public forum.  The exposure here, though, is silent.  Each artwork speaks to the viewer’s eyes, and the viewer must internalize what he sees.”  Curtis recommends that the viewer always asks, “What is this artist trying to say to me, and why?” 

Exhibits of artworks at the Club's Farmer Gallery are available during most business hours and, unless otherwise noted, are free to view. Many exhibits will also feature a special event featuring the artist.  For more information about Club exhibits please visit  Interested parties may send exhibit proposals with photos via email: (300 dpi. Jpg.)

About the Commonwealth Club of California:

Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s premier public affairs forum, with more than 25,000 members.  For the past 11 decades, the Club has fostered free speech and civic dialogue on a wide range of topics, addressing key issues in society, culture, politics, the economy and more in about 500 live programs each year.  Based in San Francisco with a second office in San Jose, the Club presents speeches, debates and discussions each year on issues of regional, national and international significance.  The Club continues to host its guests—from presidents and activists to scientists and chefs—at its headquarters on the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco as well as at venues around San Francisco, Silicon Valley, the East Bay and Marin County.  In addition to its traditional forums, the Club hosts the Climate One project on climate change, and Inforum, a division oriented to younger community members.  It has sponsored public policy projects over the years, ranging from early 1900s studies and reports leading to environmental and social legislative and policy innovations, to more recent efforts to improve state governance in California.  The Club has produced a PBS film, published books and publishes a bimonthly magazine, The Commonwealth.

About 1 million people listen to The Commonwealth Club’s weekly radio broadcast—the oldest continuing radio program in the country—on more than 230 public and commercial stations across the country. The Club’s podcasts are downloaded about 5 million times each year. The Club’s videos also appear on the California Channel, C-SPAN and YouTube, where they have been viewed millions of times. For more information, visit