STRIPPED BARE by Lily Velden



Artist Nick Farrell’s nerves at his first solo gallery exhibit aren’t helped by the appearance of an intriguing stranger who captures his attention. Architect Michael Davenport is interested in buying some of Nick’s work, but his probing into the meaning behind the art leaves Nick feeling naked and vulnerable.  It’s up to Nick’s irreverent and foul-mouthed parrot, Oliver, to provide some excellent advice to bring the two men together in his own unique way.


“Do you always use text in your work, Mr. Farrell?”

His voice was smooth, like a river stone polished by a mountain stream, and it flowed over me like warm honey.

I made myself meet his gaze, which was far more intense than his soft cadence had implied.

“No, not always, but I love language. It is a living, breathing, evolving thing, and language has power. Whether in a song lyric, a poem, a speech, or a simple conversation, we’ve all experienced words that resonate with us. They may make us recall a powerful moment, inspire us, move us, or perhaps, comfort us…. But at the same time, we don’t think in words. We think in pictures. If I say the word ‘dog’ to you, you aren’t picturing the letters, d-o-g, you’re picturing a dog from your memory. I’m fascinated by the idea of combining literal language with a visual one.”

“So the text you chose for the various pieces in this exhibition resonate with you?” he probed.


“The predominant themes seem to be of pain, redemption, the masking of one’s true self, and finding the courage to break free. Do you relate to these sentiments?” His eyes bored into me as he waited for my reply.

Suddenly I felt naked, stripped bare for them all to see, and I had to resist the urge to check if I was still clothed.

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