burned paper

New Work: Playing With Fire, inspired by nature

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 32 . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 40 x 28 x .25 inches. ©2016. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 32. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 40 x 28 x .25 inches. ©2016. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre.

My burned paper series, Playing With Fire, has had a nice run for over a year now. Commissions have been for versions of two basic designs: concentric circles and diagonal lines. While no two pieces can be alike given the medium, I'm interested in evolving this series to new ideas.

I've begun experimenting with using patterns in nature to inform the work. This stemmed from research for a new commission in Dubai, inspired by sand dune patterns in the Arabian Desert. Once I started looking at other patterns in nature - veins of a leaf, a knot of wood, shattered ice, waves, shells, even migrating birds - I realized that the possibilities are endless.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 31 . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 40 x 28 x .25 inches. ©2016. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 31. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 40 x 28 x .25 inches. ©2016. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre.

Another solution I'm experimenting with is creating work with less dimensional depth to allow for less complex framing. The work to date has been 2.5 to 5 inches deep, requiring an investment in special framing. The work will still need to be custom-framed, but designers and collectors will have more options at the shallower depth.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 30 . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 20 x 28 x 2.65 inches. ©2016. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 30. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 20 x 28 x 2.65 inches. ©2016. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre.

Stay tuned here as the experiments continue!

New Commission + New Toy: Dubai Hotel project

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 25  and  No. 26 . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 35.5 x 29 x 2.65 inches each. ©2016. Commissioned for The Address Boulevard Dubai. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 25 and No. 26. Paper, gold leaf, flame. 35.5 x 29 x 2.65 inches each. ©2016. Commissioned for The Address Boulevard Dubai. Images: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre

What happens when you take a blowtorch to paper? All kinds of toasty, crispy, singed wonderfulness! These two recent commissions for The Address Boulevard Dubai are evidence that you can do so without burning down the studio.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 26 (detail) . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 35.5 x 29 x 2.65 inches. ©2016. Commissioned for The Address Boulevard Dubai. Image: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 26 (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 35.5 x 29 x 2.65 inches. ©2016. Commissioned for The Address Boulevard Dubai. Image: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre

Contrary to what I thought would happen, taking torch to paper allows for a range of effects. From subtle surface browning - kind of like toasting a marshmallow - to complete combustion, the possibilities are surprising. As I work more with a torch, I'm eager to see how the work evolves.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 25 (detail) . Paper, gold leaf, flame. 35.5 x 29 x 2.65 inches. ©2016. Commissioned for The Address Boulevard Dubai Image: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 25 (detail). Paper, gold leaf, flame. 35.5 x 29 x 2.65 inches. ©2016. Commissioned for The Address Boulevard Dubai Image: Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre

I'm very pleased for this work to be landing in a completely different part of the world, and grateful for the continued support for my work by the team at Soho Myriad Fine Art Consultants.