Kevin O'Brien, Massachusetts Member Since January 2007 Artist Statement Short Artist Statement
Kevin L. O'Brien (kLoB)
I am a proponent of Pan-Global, Industrial, Supra-Expressionism which attempts to utilize materials from global industrial culture within works created as art. The juxtaposition of the bold expressionistic strokes on the stark industrial materials causes a good deal of tension. The bright colors used in the textures further differentiates the energy of expressionistic strokes from the dullness of the main materials.
Reverence for the fine finished patinas that normally apply to art, as in art school or commercial art can be dispensed with for the boldness of an energy more sympathetic with rock and roll (e.g., jimi hendrix), r & b and/or jazz music (e.g., Coltrane). The high-power and energy of these musical expressions had a dramatic impact. Use of industrial materials in new combines (as influenced by Rauschenberg early on) further stressed the idea of how materials could be combined and what marked a work as "finished." A new primitive kind of "carpentry" skills were developed to hold these materials together, and worry about loose hanging edges was lost.
Expressionistic tendencies were heavily influenced by key Expressionists from Van Gogh though Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting. They walk a thin line between markings on some surface that depict something, and tracing the actual flow of energy through some random being.
Of course, there was a new vocabulary of objects that needed to be created and new motifs that needed to be developed to be depicted using this form of expression. My symbols were inspired by Klee, Dubuffet, children's art, people of many different lands. Of course, everyday objects depicted as in Pop were sucked into this imagery through the industrial-scape. I try to develop a symbol from pseudo-figurative state, along a continuum until it becomes my own. The symbols would be fashioned more in the brute manner of Dubuffet, children or early cultures, as it fit more with expressionistic force.
Helping to break things up into new arrangements, pieces and relationships, even going to the nonsensical as in Dada, were the effects of Surrealism on my work. its super-focus and startling sharpness helped provide a basis for the glistening effects I like to add to some works, as if glowing within an industrial subway, within a cave. The rearrangement of shape and form helped me to melt normal shapes into new forms, which could better be used to express their industrial energy.
I do not feel that use of the basic materials of painting has been exhausted, or that art now must explore new materials/media to be able to make a valid statement.
Finally, since, to me, the spiritual is directly self-evident, it is also present in my work. The political and socio-political world are foreign to my art.