Kelly O'Connor

Gallery Affiliations: David Shelton Gallery

Region: West

My work is, to a great extent, about exposing Americans’ thin public façade as they struggle to uphold the aspirations and resolve the contradictions of enduring Western cultural ideals. The female characters often have a look of artificial bliss or antidepressant-driven happiness, while many of the male characters represent the ominous “man behind the curtain.” At times, the figures are hypnotized or controlled by intoxicating products or appliances.

The scenes I create are the calcified remains of a culture focused on production and destruction. In appropriated images primarily from the 1950s and 1960s, nostalgic and familiar themes provide an access point. By borrowing idealized American landscapes and creating a nonlinear narrative, I leave the situation ambiguous. Sickly sweet, candy-colored surfaces are juxtaposed with paper sampled from vintage record covers. The contrast of sparkling rays and bright neon against weathered, dull tones serves as a metaphor for the striking dualities within our society.