koenigstein

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

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

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

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: They Decide to Stay for Awhile

"They Decide to Stay for Awhile" 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.

They Decide to Stay is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

We have our very own 12th century castle ruin here in Königstein. Host to the annual Bergfest, concerts and fireworks, it sees a lot of action. But most of the time, it's a quiet spot to hike up to for a nice view.

Living on temporary overseas assignment means one's life can be uprooted at any time, with little notice. When I remember that home is where the heart is, I don't mind so much.

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

a heartfelt Danke!

Last night's Opening for Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn was wunderschön! I was feeling the love as friends, new acquaintances and gallery patrons gathered to help celebrate.

Gallery owner Jimin Leyrer did a wonderful job installing the work and rolling out the red carpet, treating us to her special Chinese New Year's rice cakes as we also toasted The Year of the Horse.

It means a lot to me that everyone who came made the time and effort to travel to Königstein, several navigating train schedules and the autobahn. As I was navigating my own limited German in a short talk, it struck me how people's mere presence was testament to exactly what Hard Tryer is about: putting ourselves out there to connect, even when it takes some effort or in the face of unknown results. Last night showed me that the results are indeed good.

All images above by the lovely Julia Schwager, unless otherwise noted.

The exhibition runs through the end of February. Details below.

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 opens tonight!

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

My Hard Tryer solo exhibition at Galerie Uhn opens this evening at 19:00. If you can stop by for a visit, I'd love to share the work with you personally. The exhibition runs through the end of February.

If you have a small group of friends and would like to have a private tour, please let me or gallery owner Jimin Leyrer know.

There will be an exhibition catalog available for purchase, or as a gift when original art is purchased.

Throughout the month of February I'll be sharing short background stories about some of the work in the exhibition, including Postcards from the Edge: Taunus, through regular blog posts.

Gallery Uhn details and opening hours, below. I hope to see you on Friday!

"Hard Tryer" (detail). Watercolor, coffee, pencil on paper, 80 x 60 cm.

Exhibition details:

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014
Vernissage: Friday, 31 January at 19:00

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

solo exhibition: it takes a village

The past few weeks I've been preparing furiously for a solo exhibition that I have in February here in Germany. I'm very excited to have this opportunity, and am particularly delighted that it's at Galerie Uhn, a lovely gallery owned by Jimin Leyer here in my "hometown" of Königstein.

In addition to the satisfaction of preparing a new body of work for its gallery debut, it's a real pleasure to work closely with other local artists, makers, and design professionals who are involved in the process of creating the work and producing an exhibition.

Astrid Blasberg

Astrid Blasberg shared her studio and etching press with me last week, where I worked on a new batch of Postcards from the Edge. The new larger-format series will be in the exhibition, reflecting scenes of the Taunus (this rural region where we live just outside of Frankfurt).

Astrid Blasberg in her studio at the Fabrik in Roedelheim (Image: courtesy of Astrid Blasberg)

Astrid Blasberg in her studio at the Fabrik in Roedelheim (Image: courtesy of Astrid Blasberg)

Astrid is a painter with a great eye for color! Working along side her – even though we were each focused on our own work – was real inspiration.

Working on a fresh batch of "Postcards from the Edge" in Astrid Blasberg's studio

Working on a fresh batch of "Postcards from the Edge" in Astrid Blasberg's studio

Heinz Pflug

Heinz Pflug is a fine art photographer and digital printmaker who helped produce the base prints for the Postcards. His expertise and high standards helped me get crisp, beautifully-saturated prints of my photographs.

Heinz Pflug, photographer and large format digital print expert, with his massive Epson

Heinz Pflug, photographer and large format digital print expert, with his massive Epson

Heinz inspecting the work!

Heinz inspecting the work!

Julia Schwager

Julia Schwager is helping me photograph the work for an exhibition catalog. After trying to shoot the work myself with disappointing results, I'm learning it pays to bring in the experts! Her methodical approach is teaching me that there's a lot to getting good images. Plus, Julia's great fun to work with.

Julia Schwager photographing my work for the exhibition catalog

Julia Schwager photographing my work for the exhibition catalog

Katja von Ruville

Katja von Ruville is designing and producing the exhibition catalog. I adore Katja's esthetic (and her gorgeous handmade jewelry), so I'm very happy to tap her talents for this project.

Katja von Ruville (and studio assistant Anouk) is designing the exhibition catalog (Image: Sven Ehlers)

Katja von Ruville (and studio assistant Anouk) is designing the exhibition catalog (Image: Sven Ehlers)

Merja Herzog Hellsten

My local teacher, Merja Herzog Hellsten, has been a catalyst for the direction of this work since I started classes with her last Spring. Not only is Merja a productive, successful working artist, but a highly effective teacher with a gift for honing in on just the right feedback when it's needed.

Merja Herzon Hellsten in action during a group crit in our Staedelschule Adult Education class

Merja Herzon Hellsten in action during a group crit in our Staedelschule Adult Education class

Lisa Kokin

Last, but definitely not least, is my mentor Lisa Kokin. Lisa deserves her own blog post, which I will do. For now, suffice it to say that there would not be a village without Lisa's gentle tough love and steady presence since Fall 2011. I sought her out as an art coach when we moved overseas, knowing that not only did I need a wise guide to help me transition to fulltime working artist, but also someone to help me find the courage to put myself out there in a new town. The fact that Lisa's based in California hasn't stopped us and proves that one's "village" can be global as well as local.

Lisa Kokin, mixed media artist, teaching Bindi how to sew (Image: Lia Roozendaal)

Lisa Kokin, mixed media artist, teaching Bindi how to sew (Image: Lia Roozendaal)

One of my desires in moving overseas was to become immersed in local, everyday life. It's surprisingly easy as an expat not to integrate. You've got to put yourself out there in small ways that can easily become obstacles if you don't face them down: making phone calls in German, working all day through technical details with someone who speaks no English, deciphering a proposal in German (Google Translate does a lousy job), hunting down local resources and suppliers in German, preparing catalog text in two languages. I could go on!

None of this is a complaint, but it is an added layer of challenge. Which is why I'm grateful to everyone involved. They are collaborators, mentors, professionals, and friends. I wasn't sure that I could have this outside the comfort zone of my longtime hometown in the US. This experience is teaching me that, yes – it takes a village to pull off a "solo" exhibition – but that village can be anywhere if you're willing to put down the fear and just connect with people.