Kelly O'Brien

Region: Midwest


City / State: South Saint Paul, MN

“We live in a linguistic culture and everything has to be turned into language. People don’t understand anything until you’ve explained it.” This is a form of visual obtuseness that comes from being raised on television—“which absolutely deadens the imagination and deadens the senses. You just sit there with your mouth open.”

–Emma Brockes, quoting Carl Andre, in “I’m a Hopeless Drawer— and a Terrible Painter,” 2013

I find value in disregarded cultural trash. Our decompression tendencies expose guilty pleasures. We choose to disengage, and the distraction is a privilege. Can worth be reinstated in this slacker movement if examined against art history? Through humor, I hope to suggest critiques of our learned art world, challenging the obvious assumptions that we routinely follow. Stereotypes and generalizations, along with hierarchical material associations, visually wrestle for the spotlight. Expectations of what is considered historically or culturally valuable are exaggerated for these compositional battles. With heroic art practices like oil painting and the structural trust gained through my sculptural forms, I rescue the integrity of conceptual art.