Monday, August 19, 2013

Brian O'Malley

Brian O'Malley is a Rhode Island based interdisciplinary artist. He has been showing his work in the Northeast since the late 1990s in group and solo shows. He is currently on the staff at the University of Rhode Island as an adjunct faculty member and is represented in Providence, RI by Gallery Z. Brian has participated in many artist residencies, most recently at Brush Creek Ranch in 2013, Ragadale Foundation in 2012, and Weir Farm National Historic Site in 2009. Brian has been working on experimental film/animation projects that infuse his unique style of drawing and painting with moving images. His current work can be seen here, here and here.

Fragments of memory get put back together like stills from a dream. To borrow an idea from the film Inception, "you never really remember the beginning of a dream do you? You always wind up right in the middle of what's going on." That middle ground is where I find myself in the studio. If I called my work "fantastical" then this would be an accurate description of how I come to terms with the landscape of reality and dreams.

I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in dreams... Man... is above all the plaything of his memory. 

- Andre Breton

Punctuation of the body
oil on canvas, 20"x20"

Our bodies can do strange things at times, rejecting the natural order of events. If the right eye wants to flee in a painting then why not let it.

oil on canvas, 20"x18"
I used a heavy application of gesso over an old portrait, leaving behind the left eye and bits of the red-orange underpainting. The area around the eye is very thick, as if the eye was a cutout, and reminds me of an old movie in which the eyes of a portrait follow you. There are passages of thick impasto-ish paint and very thin veils of a burgundy wine color intermingling with the focal point of the green eye. Instead of the viewer looking at a portrait, this piece feels like it is doing the looking.  

The nasty footballer
oil on canvas, 13"x13"

One of the first pieces in two years in which I brought back color. All those tubes of paint calling my name and the one that called the loudest was ultramarine violet. The title says it all.

There's a crack in my earth
oil, india ink, charcoal, gesso
 paper mounted to canvas, 14"x10"
In an effort to not overwork this piece, I let some of the spontaneous elements stay so they could work in conjunction with layering of all the materials. I covered 2 older drawings with gesso and let some of the drawing show through. I then layered india ink and oil on top and used the image of a nose with glasses to allude to the vulnerability of the human condition.

Sing your heart out
india ink and charcoal on paper, 55"x62"

In a true Kafkaesque moment, what would it be like to wake up one day and you have been transformed into a bizarre creature. 

It's down there
india ink, charcoal, gesso, gouache, pen on paper, 10"x7"

This piece was made while at a residency at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming. This is a loose interpretation of the view out the back of my studio window. The rugged country made me wonder what secrets the land had buried. 

Seven actors audition for David Lynch
india ink, charcoal, gesso, gouache, pen on paper, 10"x7"

This image was also made while in residence at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming. Originally I had some references to land up above the figures, but then decided that the real motive of the picture was the relationship between the isolated character and the other 7 figures. There are always bizarre moments in a Lynch film when someone has a mask on or becomes transmogrified. 


Message from below
collaged monoprints and gouache on canvas, 10"x13"

I began experimenting in June of 2013 with a series of monoprints that I had in the studio. This piece reflects my interest in mixing abstract textures with playful imagery. This image reminded me of fishing Lake Winnepesaukee as a boy and watching the big fish just eye the bait, waiting patiently.

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