Saturday, June 19, 2010

C'OD(e)R:

The Walking Test, acrylic, ink, colored pencil, graphite & collage, 30" x 22.5"
2010
John J. O'Connor
click image to enlarge


Horror Crash, acrylic, colored pencil & graphite on paper, 75.5" x 58"
2010
John J. O'Connor
click image to enlarge


C'OD(e)R, John O'Connor exhibition at Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia
installation view
click image to enlarge

Michele and I went to Philadelphia to be at the opening of John O'Connor's solo show at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery this week. Beautiful new work. We fell in love with the piece at top called "The Walking Test". It is a particularly exciting collision of O'Connor's highly articulated, meticulous, data-driven, linear drawing up against flowing, viscous, pushed-around paint. One of the things going on in his newer work seems to be an interesting and complicated dialogue between elements of numerical or graphical notation of flow, processes, change and chance (the kind of out-of-control charting or mapping he has long been known for) and intrusions or insertions of actual occasions of organically-shaped phenomena like loosely painted areas. In "The Walking Test", that phenomenal aspect is present in the smudged, smeared and full-bodied paint that forms the larger enclosing shape. The relation of the outer painted area to the inner, drawn form is one of a high degree of both consonance and dissonance spatially, texturally and coloristically. The two interpenetrating areas seem both inseparable and irreconcilable. That tension is reprised and heightened on close inspection by the way the outer paint perimeter's "random" contours against the black ground have been intricately redefined by precise, tiny drawn boundaries. This pairing or twinning of difference is born out in yet another way when considering O'Connor's statement about the process through which this piece developed: "My personal variation on the Turing Test. I tried to draw a shape in the center of the paper, with both hands, from top to bottom, with each hand simultaneously mimicking the other." In other instances of the entry of "natural" elements into the work, there were a number of John's new sculptures here. They use found tree branches as their basis, complex forms that already carry their own data, and receive complexities of O'Connor's thought in the form of added color and graphic symbols like letters and numbers.

links:
john j o'connor
fleisher-ollman gallery

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