Blankets. Pacifiers. Methods of Sedation. Sex. Drugs. Smoking. Food. Chocolate. Warmth. A need to find refuge in dark times. Sometimes the biggest political gesture one can assert is to take care of oneself.
All this new work is about fragility and rawness. Being honest with myself. The absence of color is the statement of the work. The inner body and wounds. Self-care as the body politic. Ritual as political action. Orifices. Holes. Gestures of eroticism and fetishism.
Over the past year I wanted to challenge myself in the studio by restricting color and the use of materials. It was a reaction to outside conditions. A rebellion against what was expected in and of myself, call it a mid life crisis, world crisis. Whatever it is/was it is a love note to the viewer.
A gesture to provide comfort in difficult times. Getting Unstuck. Moving past the expected, shedding skins. Leaving it natural. Using what is left behind.
My earliest works were about intimacy. My body performing in private in the studio.
Mantras, ritual and repetition were/are central themes in the work.
These have been exhibited in the marks of the colored pencil drawings, incisions of the ceramics, stitched line of the felts.
These two new bodies of work employ these same strategies in wrapping and pinning. Repeated gestures and tension of the binding of the twine and felt. Pinning and assembling blankets with discarded materials.
- William J. O'Brien