galerie uhn

Playing With Fire Now Showing at Galerie Uhn

My exhibition at Galerie Uhn in Königstein, near Frankfurt, Germany opened with an enthusiastic gathering, highlighted by a classical music trio, reunions with dear friends, and a great response to my new work.

I also gave an artist talk on September 2nd, when I had an opportunity to discuss this work in public for the first time, using a Q&A format led by gallery owner Jimin Leyrer.

A very big thank you to Jimin and her family for lots of generous support and hard work to make this a great show, and to Ann-Katrin Sura for hosting a delightful gathering after the Vernissage.

There's also a brief article about the exhibition here (open the link with Chrome and it can translate for you).

The exhibition runs until 28 September.

Exhibition: Playing With Fire at Galerie Uhn

Galerie Uhn's brochure for my upcoming solo exhibition just went out, a copy below. The work is all finished and framed, ready for the long drive to Germany in a couple of weeks. I'm renting a long-ish van for trek, as some of the work that I'm bringing for this show and our CKCK group exhibition is too large for my SUV. Shipping so much work is cost-prohibitive. Eurotunnel, here I come - oh, the glamorous life of an artist!

Save the Dates: August 25th and September 1st Vernissages in Germany

On Friday, August 25th I'll be at Galerie Uhn in Königstein-im-Taunus, Germany for the opening of my second solo exhibition with the gallery. I'm excited to debut my burned paper sculpture series, Playing With Fire, for German collectors. 

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 43 (Orange) , detail. Paper, spray paint, flame. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 43 (Orange), detail. Paper, spray paint, flame. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

I'll be in town until September 3rd, installing another exhibition in nearby Bad Soden with my artist collective CKCK, which opens on September 1st. I'll be showing different work there, including Object (Im)permanence and Mending | Tending.

Kelly M. O'Brien, work in progress from Mending | Tending series. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, work in progress from Mending | Tending series. ©2017.

So if you're in the Frankfurt area, we have lots of opportunities to see each other - I would love that.

In the meantime, I've got my head down working on pieces for both shows, plus commissions. It'll be a happy race to the finish!

Playing With Fire | Galerie Uhn | 25 August – September 28, 2017 | Vernissage: Friday, 25 August, 19:00 | Königstein, Germany

In the Face of Everything | Stadtgalerie Bad Soden | September 2 - 24, 2017 | Vernissage: Friday, 1 September, 19:00 | Bad Soden, Germany

Material Lessons

This week I was reminded that when you fight with your materials, nobody wins. What's happening in the studio is often an object lesson for currents running deeper below. Some days you find yourself in the zone, things easily falling into place. Others - like this week - the more I fussed with trying to get something to work, the less cooperative the work became.

Over time, I've learned that if I'm not mindful, I use my work to stave off or avoid feeling things I'd rather not address - fear, pain, anxiety. After losing my father in March, I've kept an eye on this with varying degrees of success. Yet in the form of this particular piece, I found my self overworking, overdoing, protesting and insisting I could make it so if I only kept trying to save it.

Kelly M. O'Brien, work in progress (or not). ©2017

Kelly M. O'Brien, work in progress (or not). ©2017

After several days of this silliness, I talked with my mentor, Lisa Kokin, who gently and firmly instructed me to set the piece aside, put it away for at least a month, and revisit it with fresh eyes. Of course this is the wise thing to do - and even then, it may never be something I can fix. Maybe it will become something I'll have to let go.

Even the work that did end up being resolved this week felt like a struggle. A new piece in the Edgy series, this one has a darker, tighter feel to it, and didn't unfold as easily as the previous three pieces in this series of nine.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 50 (Edgy No. 4) . Paper, spray paint, wire. 14 x 14 x 3 inches framed. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 50 (Edgy No. 4). Paper, spray paint, wire. 14 x 14 x 3 inches framed. ©2017.

I do like it quite a bit. There's something about it that allows a range of elements to co-exist, if not comfortably, then tolerantly: light, dark, irregular, interesting, unruly, contained, with a splash of color.

All of these pieces and more (except, perhaps, the problem child described above) will be available for purchase via Galerie Uhn in September:

Playing With Fire | Galerie Uhn | 25 August – September 28, 2017 | Vernissage: Friday, 25 August, 19:00

New Work: Edgy

In recent months, my Playing With Fire commissions have evolved from dimensional pieces constrained by a mat and frame, to floating sculptural objects, unconstrained by form.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 47 (Edgy 1) . Paper, book thread, flame. 14 x 14 x 2 7/8 inches framed. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 47 (Edgy 1). Paper, book thread, flame. 14 x 14 x 2 7/8 inches framed. ©2017.

My new obsession has become the edges of these burned stacks of paper. While I give love and attention to every detail of a commission, I've been dreaming of how to celebrate their edges.

Burning down the house. Work in progress. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2017.

Burning down the house. Work in progress. Kelly M. O'Brien ©2017.

Enter Edgy, a series of small burned paper objects that flip the stacks on their sides and make each object all about this tiny but gorgeous feature. I've only just begun this series and am eager to see where it takes me.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 49 (Edgy 3) . Paper, flame. 14 x 14 x 2 7/8 inches framed. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 49 (Edgy 3). Paper, flame. 14 x 14 x 2 7/8 inches framed. ©2017.

Edgy will eventually show up as a grid of nine framed pieces – and probably a few special ones left unframed – in my solo exhibition with Galerie Uhn in September, details below.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire No. 48 (Edgy 2) . Paper, flame. 14 x 14 x 2 7/8 inches framed. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire No. 48 (Edgy 2). Paper, flame. 14 x 14 x 2 7/8 inches framed. ©2017.

Playing With Fire | Galerie Uhn | 25 August – September 28, 2017 | Vernissage: Friday, 25 August, 19:00

New Work: Phases

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire, No. 42 (Green) . Paper, flame, spray paint. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire, No. 42 (Green). Paper, flame, spray paint. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

This coming September I'll be debuting my Playing With Fire series in Germany with a solo exhibition at Galerie Uhn in Königstein-im-Taunus. Plans are coming along nicely for a body of work that both showcases work similar to the PWF commissions that I've been doing steadily for the past 18 months, as well as pieces that take the work in some new directions.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire, No. 36 (Pink) . Paper, flame, spray paint. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire, No. 36 (Pink). Paper, flame, spray paint. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

One such direction is Phases, a small series of six pieces that attempt to categorize and put order to an otherwise uncontrollable, ephemeral combination: paper and fire. Oh, the metaphors! The fact that these works emerged during a particularly stressful time in my personal life is no surprise.

Kelly M. O'Brien,  Playing With Fire, No. 43 (Orange) . Paper, flame, spray paint. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Playing With Fire, No. 43 (Orange). Paper, flame, spray paint. 28 x 28 x .5 inches. ©2017.

Deep meaning aside, I'm particularly pleased with the experiments using subtle color. Viewed straight-on, the color is a faint glow of pink, orange or green. From an angle, the color becomes more noticable, a reward for looking at things differently.

Playing With Fire | Galerie Uhn | 25 August – September 28, 2017 | Vernissage: Friday, 25 August, 19:00

All images are by Z. Al-Gafoor, Image Centre, Bath

EXTENDED: "the artist is not present" at Galerie Uhn through Sept. 9

Left to right: Claudia Grom,  Man in the Moon ; Kelly O'Brien,  You're New Around Here, Aren't You? ; Chris Kircher,  Mädchenkopf ; Katja v. Ruville,  lunaria

Left to right: Claudia Grom, Man in the Moon; Kelly O'Brien, You're New Around Here, Aren't You?; Chris Kircher, Mädchenkopf; Katja v. Ruville, lunaria

I am delighted to announce that our small group exhibition, the artist is not present, has been extended at Galerie Uhn through September 9th.

A dear friend who lives in Königstein recently send me a snapshot looking through the gallery window at my piece, Village Committee. She and her daughter were passing by. They didn't realize that Galerie Uhn had relocated to its new location, and the painting caught her daughter's eye, causing her to retrace their steps to take a closer look. What I love best is that they're reflected in the image too.

Florentine and Louisette Winkel at Galerie Uhn. Image credit: Louisette Winkel

Florentine and Louisette Winkel at Galerie Uhn. Image credit: Louisette Winkel

Galerie Uhn's owner, Jimin Leyrer, recently had this to say about our show:

"The response to this exhibition has been very strong. Each artist's work has garnered specific and thoughtful praise. Together, it makes a particularly strong show. I am so proud of each of them and hope that we get a lot of visitors in the remaining time that the exhibition is open."

Galerie Uhn opening hours are Tuesday through Friday, 12:00 - 17:00, Saturday 10:00 - 13:00 and by appointment | Hauptstraße 34, 61462 Königstein | Tel: 06174-221750

The Artists Were Present at Galerie Uhn

The artists were all present at Friday's Galerie Uhn Vernissage for the artist is not present, along with a fine gathering of friends, collectors, and Königstein locals.

The exhibition features an installation of Lichtobjekte by Katja v. Ruville, scrapmetal sculpture by Chris Kircher, videos and an installation by Claudia Grom, and overpainted photographs by Kelly O'Brien.

Presence took some effort. Kelly drove from her home near Bath, England to deliver new work and help install the exhibition during the week. Claudia navigated a six-hour time zone difference from her current location in Bali, not only to direct the installation of her work, but to participate by Skype in the Vernissage.

Many thanks to everyone who came out to the Taunus for the event! We are especially grateful to Frau Jimin Leyrer of Galerie Uhn for mounting our exhibition and hosting the event. Special thanks to Pat Roth for the photographs.

Our work is available at the gallery until August 28th. Opening hours are Tuesday through Friday, 12:00 - 17:00 and Saturday 10:00 - 13:00. Galerie Uhn is closed for summer holiday July 31 - August 15.

We invite your presence! Please stop in, bring a friend, and enjoy a cup of green tea while you browse.

Exhibition: "the artist is not present" at Galerie Uhn

Claudia Grom, 2015,    The Man in the Moon   ,   Video

Claudia Grom, 2015, The Man in the Moon, Video

I am pleased to announce our second exhibition as a group with my German colleagues Chris Kircher, Claudia Grom and Katja v. Ruville. The artist is not present opens this Friday, July 10 at Galerie Uhn and continues to August 29.

The title plays with the idea that presence does not have to be physical. Two of us are currently not or are no longer living in the Frankfurt area. We have remained committed to a shared vision and professional practice of our work as presented in our first exhibition to be continued. Since then, we have continued to collaborate and support one another virtually through regular Skype meetings, bi-annual retreats and group exhibitions.

Katja v. Ruville, 2015,  vergraben | buried , porcelain, black rice, mung beans, rice noodles, pigment,    ∅   13cm, 18 cm, 22 cm | 21 x 21 cm

Katja v. Ruville, 2015, vergraben | buried, porcelain, black rice, mung beans, rice noodles, pigment,  13cm, 18 cm, 22 cm | 21 x 21 cm

Over the past year, we have each had our own personal experience of what “not being present” means, reflected in the work. Whether it is relocating to a different country, traveling the world with a long term art project, retreating into one’s inner world, or working in other fields – each development has stretched, as well as enriched the group's bond.

Chris Kircher, 2014,  M    ä  dchenkopf | girls head,    scrap metal, welded

Chris Kircher, 2014, Mädchenkopf | girls head, scrap metal, welded

Exhibited work includes scrap metal sculpture by Chris Kircher, porcelain and light objects by Katja v. Ruville, an installation combined with live performance art from Asia by Claudia Grom, and some of my New Country work.

Kelly O  ’  Brien, 2015,  You    ’  re New Around Here, Aren  ’  t You?   ,   overpainted photograph on canvas

Kelly OBrien, 2015, Youre New Around Here, Arent You?, overpainted photograph on canvas

The artists will be present. If you are in the Frankfurt area, I hope to see you there!

the artist is not present
July 10 through August 29, 2015
Opening: July 10, 7:00 pm
Galerie Uhn
Hauptstrasse 34
61462 Königstein

Exhibition and Opening Reception for "She is Herself"

Exhibition and Opening Reception for "She is Herself"

The power of art to heal! Am delighted that my work will hang in a new women's medical practice in Bad Soden, Germany. Opening reception: November 22 @3pm. I'll be there - please join me!

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: The Path Itself Changed Her

"The Path Itself Changed Her" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

"The Path Itself Changed Her" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

The Path Itself Changed Her is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

Crossing paths with chickens, cows, sheep and horses is an everyday experience living in the Taunus. We have what we call the “chicken loop” as one of the routes we take with our dog Astro.

He used to get so excited when we encountered various farm animals along the way. Now he takes them in stride.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – March 15, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: You Lead, I'll Follow

"You Lead, I'll Follow" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

You Lead, I'll Follow is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series. Okay, full disclosure: this image was shot in Obergurgl, Austria, nowhere near the Taunus. Nonetheless, it's included in this series for now.

When we left the US to move overseas, it was an opportunity for me to focus full time on art. It also meant that I was leaving a good career in government consulting. In one fell swoop, my identity shifted from economic equal to financially dependent hausfrau. The adjustment was not pretty.

I'm learning that you've got to take turns in relationships. Sometimes you lead, other times you follow. And money isn't the only way to share responsibility and power. Living abroad has been a great teacher in this regard.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – March 15, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

EXTENDED: hard tryer at Galerie Uhn

Dear Local Friends,

It is with pleasure that I can tell you my exhibition at Galerie Uhn is extended through March 15.

New work will be hung later this week to replace the pieces that have already sold, including new large-scale watercolors on board and mixed media prints. You can read about the exhibition here.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
Seilerbahnweg 1
61462 Königstein

Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Plenty

"Plenty" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Plenty is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

A common site on a hike in the Taunus is walls of stacked timber, their cut ends creating patterns of circles that line both sides of the trail. The graphic digits spray-painted across the cut logs are apparently private timber marks, indicating ownership and transportation rights for the cut timber.

Like a secret formula, they add up to remind me that this is plenty.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: She Decides to Shine

"She Decides to Shine" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

She Decides to Shine is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

Our local forest is scattered with beautiful mushrooms and fungi. Germany has some 5,000 mushroom species, including many that are considered delicacies.

We have not, however, been brave enough to collect and consume them – something the locals enthusiastically do from early September to mid-October. Apparently, there's even a Mushroom Mafia.

This lovely specimen was literally glowing, not to be missed.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Begin Anywhere

"Begin Anywhere" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Begin Anywhere is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

The Taunus is laced with hiking trails, stacks of timbered logs, and an occasional mid-hike restaurant or biergarten. Foul weather is no excuse, with the sun shining on average only 36% of the time. Rain, occasional shine, wind, snow – everyone is out in droves walking through fields and forest.

Choices abound for a pleasant outing. This ode to John Cage is a mantra for when I don't know where to start – in or out of the woods.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Leave Breadcrumbs

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Leave Breadcrumbs is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

In a fairytale forest we hiked in fog so thick, we could barely see the trail in front of us. There's a lot of natural beauty here. I used to think that the illustrations in children's books were imaginary. But now I know that they're inspired by real-life scenery in Germany.

We live about an hour from Marburg, where the Brothers Grimm studied. Art imitates life that imitates art in this neck of the woods.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Schnell, Like a Bunny!

"Schnell Like a Bunny!" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Schnell Like a Bunny! is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

The grocery check-out line in Germany is like a competitive sport. There's a certain unspoken pressure to quickly unload your cart, bag your groceries, pay and get out of the way. Like these chocolate bunnies, you've got to be quick.

Unless, of course, you're paying in cash and want to dig out exact change. Then you can take as much time as you need.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Small World

"Small World" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Small World is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

I found these tiny mushrooms growing on top of an eye-level stone wall. Had I been rushing along at my usual pace, I would have missed them. But I'd slowed down to stop at the mailbox nearby to mail postcards to loved ones overseas.

Up close, the scene revealed an entire small world in a patch of moss.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung