art whino

grace finds home

The last project I did before moving from the states was an installation for Art Whino's G40, called Grace in Full Bloom. Shortly after deinstalling, Grace got packed up in her very own custom box and tucked into our shipping container for the ride across the ocean.

Since landing here in Germany on July 1, she's remained in her box, up to her shoulders in pink packing peanuts, waiting patiently to come out and take her rightful spot in my studio. A couple of weeks ago - box cutter in hand - as I started unpacking her, I stopped mid-cut. It suddenly occurred to me: that's me in that box.

"Grace in Full Bloom" up to her neck in packing peanuts.Okay, not really me. But the part of myself that I consider the most sacred and core to who I am. Clearly, we (Grace and I) haven't been ready to come out of our box and settle into this new house. How could we, with all the chaos of the move and challenge of starting over, not to mention a dog bent on destroying anything he deems mine every time I leave the house?

Until that moment, I hadn't been able to put my finger on why I was keeping Grace under wraps. Nearly all of the unpacking was finished, but she remained safely ensconced. Once I realized this, it became very clear for me what to do: I needed to welcome Grace home. But first, I had to create a suitable environment for her.

Last week, I unleashed a swarm of book paper butterflies on my studio. They fly in from our front door, down behind the stairwell, and down to Grace's feet...

"Grace Finds Home" (installation in home studio), with Beverly Ryan's oil paining, "Dancing Through.""Grace Finds Home" (paper installation in home studio), detailAnother batch flies up out of a light fixture, across the wall and into our guest bedroom.

"Grace Finds Home" (paper installation in home studio)"Grace Finds Home" (paper installation in home studio)A fellow-G40 artist inspired the light fixture idea - he had metal butterflies made from spray paint cans swarming from a light fixture on the first floor.

"Grace Finds Home," paper installation in home studio (detail)The butterflies are die-cut from vintage French book texts. I had two copies of Le Mariage de Figaro Tome II, making serendipidous use of black and white photography in the book.

"Grace Finds Home," paper installation in home studio (detail)"Grace" now home

g40 pics and links

Kelly O'Brien, Grace in Full Bloom (detail) at G40 Art Summit (photo credit: Joshua Yospyn for Worn Magazine)Kelly O'Brien, Grace in Full Bloom at G40 Art Summit (photo credit: Joshua Yospyn for Worn Magazine)Grace in Full Bloom by Kelly O'Brien at Art Whino's G40 Art SummitA big thank you to Art Whino, microWave Project, and Brightest Young Things for pulling off an extraordinary event! I'll continue to post images here as they appear. In the meantime, you'll find some awesome slideshows of all the work here and here. Check out the party scene here and here. And a growing list of press clips about the event here.

grace in full bloom

Finished installing my very first installation yesterday, for the G40 "new brow" art event taking place in DC's U Street Corridor through June 17.

My piece, Grace In Full Bloom, is a celebration of everything I love about the materials I work with and what it means to have found what one truly loves in life. I've set Grace, my handmade-papered dress form, in a paper and moss garden. Her skirt (inspired by a long dancer's tutu) is made of hundreds of dress pattern paper flowers. Butterflies - cut from decades-old French text books that I've been keeping for something special - swarm out of a closet and across the room.

This being my first installation, I had no idea what to expect. Well, the first thing was to face down the fear of doing it. When I told my friend Mandy that I got invited by microWave Project to do this and that it was freaking me out, she immediately said something like, "and you're going to do it, right?"

What is it about art and fear? That's a whole other blog post, but something I've been contemplating for a while. Anyway, I'm very happy with how it turned out.

G40 opens to the public this coming Friday, May 20th at 10 pm. In addition to four floors of awesome art on display daily through June 17, the Opening Weekend looks like big fun:

  • Friday May 20th: Fatback DJs bring 3 of their parties into one space: FATBACK classic/ TENDERLOIN (slow jams in the lounge) / QUE SERA (garage rock in the garage). 10pm. FREE
  • Saturday May 21st: END OF THE WORLD PARTY (in anticipation of rapture) feat: Chris Burns, All Girls Squad DJs (Ultra Nate and Lisa Moody), House of Soul (Live band), Sam Burns, NavBox, Rosario, Roger Samuel, Mike Fisher, Sarah. 10pm. $1 DOOR DONATION
  • Sunday May 22nd: Special POST RAPTURE Pocket Gays Sunday School daytime brunch gathering: food truck food, st.germaine champagne cocktails, games, music etc

I'm sure there will tons of photos to post soon, which I'll do here and on TurningPointe Press' Facebook page.

art whino g40 summit

I'm thrilled to be part of microWave Project's stable of installation artists participating in the massive urban art attack known as G40. From what I've seen so far, this will be quite the scene and series of events.

Event Location
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2213-2217 14th street NW (the corner of 14th and W NW, Washington, DC)

G40 Exhibit Schedule:
Exhibit runs: May 19th-June 17th,  2011
Open Hours: Tuesday & Thursdays: 5 – 10pm,
Fridays & Saturdays: 12pm – 11pm
Sundays: 12pm – 6pm
Mondays: Closed

Entertainment schedule:
Brightest Young Things will curate unique special events in the space six days a week (Tues-Sun) to include live music, dance parties, local designer showcases and fashion events, photobooths, art workshops and talks, stand up comedy, cult movie nights, record fairs and more.

For full details and a sneek peek at some of the art, click here.