Franklin Marriott

New Commission: 5-Piece 2D Paper Sculpture for Hotel

The second commission for the Franklin Marriott Hotel and Conference Center shipped to Atlanta recently. The Soho Myriad framers are hard at work constructing box frames before sending the work on to Nashville for final installation.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 16 - 20 , work in progress. Paper, gold leaf, flame. Dimensions variable. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 16 - 20, work in progress. Paper, gold leaf, flame. Dimensions variable. ©2015.

These pieces are different from the first commission of two circular forms. For this second project, the client wanted straight, angled pieces to hang as a group of five—an interesting challenge because the individual pieces have to relate to one another once they are installed on a large wall. Wide matting is being added to expand the framed sizes. This will further change the relationship of the pieces to one another, so I had to allow for "give" in the design.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 17 - 20 , work in progress. Paper, gold leaf, flame. Dimensions variable. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 17 - 20, work in progress. Paper, gold leaf, flame. Dimensions variable. ©2015.

The individual pieces range from 20”h x 27.5”w (38”h x 46”w framed) to 24h" x 30w" (46”h x 57”w framed), and are ten layers deep. So the finished box frames are approximately 4" deep.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 19 , work in progress. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 19, work in progress. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

Speaking of framing, it's a key part of the process. I wanted a more open feel to the work, so the layers progress large to small, bottom to top. This makes for very tricky work to stabilize and mask the edges for a clean look. I'm grateful that Andrea Emmons and her framing team at Soho Myriad have the experience and confidence to handle this.

When I get images of the framed, hung work installed on location, I'll share them here.

New commission: "Playing With Fire"

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 14  (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 14 (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

I'm very pleased to share that I just completed two commissioned pieces for the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Franklin, Tennessee. They are larger versions of the Playing With Fire work that I did in 2013 to exhibit as part of Marseille-Provence Culture Capital 2013 programming.

The two commissioned pieces are much larger (30 x 24 inches) and will be matted and mounted in 3-inch deep box frames to become 72 x 54 inches. They will hang on opposite walls in a corridor at the conference center. I'm very eager to see final installation photos!

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 14  and  No. 15 . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches each. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 14 and No. 15. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches each. ©2015.

Scaling up to the larger size was a challenge. Not only are the materials trickier to work with, but there's a lot of smoke involved. Because the work is created by burning the paper, I couldn't do it in my studio indoors. We have an semi-finished stone outbuilding on our property that I converted to a temporary studio. It's dry and clean enough, after some elbow grease, to be suitable for this paradoxically messy yet pristine kind of work.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 14  (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 14 (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

Playing With Fire explores the tension between control and letting go. Fire as a medium forces me to let go – it is unpredictable, and simultaneously destructive and creative in how it interacts with paper. Fire also represents a fine line that fascinates me about what we allow ourselves to have in life. How can we have light, heat, spark and glow without self-destructing? As black and white as this work appears, for me it's all about finding a happy medium.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 14  (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 14 (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches. ©2015.

As I entrusted the carefully packaged work to the nice FedEx International shipping men yesterday, I said a silent prayer to Hermes that they arrive in good shape to the framers in Atlanta before their final journey to Nashville. Special thanks to Shannon Douglas at Soho Myriad, the fine art consulting firm who brokered the project. I look forward to doing more!

Both pieces ready for packaging (and tail end of my studio assistant, Astro, left). Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 14  and  No. 15 . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches each. ©2015.

Both pieces ready for packaging (and tail end of my studio assistant, Astro, left). Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 14 and No. 15. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 30 x 24 inches each. ©2015.