“My work is derived from a combination of memory, fantasy and fiction, often drawing from Western folklore through the use of iconic characters. I am particularly in the duality of characters that represent American idealism, yet were often tragic figures in their actual lives. Much of my work is about exposing the reality behind these public facades”
-- Kelly O’Connor
The Galveston Arts Center proudly presents Kelly O’Connor’s newest series of large-scale collages and totemic sculptures titled “Rock City.” The exhibition will open during the July 13th ArtWalk and will remain on view through August 18, 2013. Curator Clint Willour will lead a gallery talk with the artist beginning at 6:30 pm during ArtWalk. The event is free and open to the public.
Rene Paul Barilleaux, Chief Curator of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, says of O’Connor’s work “In collage, works on paper, and installation-based work, her familiar subjects undergo surreal, psychedelic, hypnotic, and other unsettling transformations.” In her exuberant and colorful collages, O’Connor plays with color, creating candy-colored surfaces often incorporating colors sampled from vintage record covers. The contrast of sparkling rays and neon colors against weathered, dull tones acts as a metaphor for the dualities within the characters.
In order to create her large-scale collages, O’Connor enlarges images from their original source. The appropriated images are drawn from film and amusement memorabilia, primarily from the 1950’s and 1960’s. She likes this time period because the line quality of the drawings is minimal and the subjects are rich with idealism. She strives to create scenes through which the viewer can experience the influence or spell that timeless narratives can cast over our lives.
Recently O’Connor has been producing a series of sculptures based on Brancusi’s Endless Column (1938). Made with styrofoam, concrete, steel and painted with acrylic paint in colors consistent with the colors in the collages, they are based on images found within some of the collages.
After receiving her BFA in studio art from the University of Texas, Kelly O’Conner returned to her hometown of San Antonio. Since arriving there her artistic career has flourished and she has had a series of solo and group exhibitions throughout Texas. Following her exhibition at the Galveston Arts Center her work will be included in the 2013 Texas Biennial exhibition at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio.