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.

Exhibition: "Accordingly - Art+Text"

How I love the combination of art and text! The influence of the book arts has never really left my work, as I'm always fighting the urge to add text to my paintings, prints and sculpture.

Happily, the two will coexist in an upcoming group exhibition that includes several of my Hard Tryer pieces. Curated by Graeme Hobbs and Robert Lee, the exhibition will be at 44AD ArtSpace in Bath.

Accordingly...Art+Text | 44AD ArtSpace | 4 Abbey Street, Bath, BA1 1NN

November 3 - 8, 2015 | Private View: November 7th, 6 to 8 pm

Exhibition: "Time and Place" at the RUH

 Image: Fiona Mackenzie-Spence

Image: Fiona Mackenzie-Spence

Last night was the Opening for Time and Place, an exhibition at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) here in Bath. Two of my most recent pieces from the New Country series are included in the show.

This exhibition explores how artists have been inspired by landscapes, seasons and nature both real and imaginary. The pieces selected are abstract, contemporary, representational or even of another world.

  Time and Place  exhibition at the RUH.  Blink and You'll Miss Her  (left) and  But Do You Really See Me?  (right), overpainted photos on canvas. ©2015 Kelly M. O'Brien.

Time and Place exhibition at the RUH. Blink and You'll Miss Her (left) and But Do You Really See Me? (right), overpainted photos on canvas. ©2015 Kelly M. O'Brien.

It was great to see the support for this award-winning program at the RUH—local officials, hospital leadership, volunteers, artists and other guests enthusiastically wandered the long hospital halls to take in the art. The impact on patients, staff and other visitors has proven to be very positive and healing.

A big thank you to Carol Carey and everyone at Somerset Art Works for facilitating this exhibition, as well as myriad other opportunities throughout Somerset during the Art Weeks Festival '15.

Time and Place
October 9, 2015 - January 15, 2016

Royal United Hospital (The RUH) | Combe Park | Bath, BA1 3NG

Open daily 8am–8pm (Central Corridor, Zone B and Courtyards)

New Etsy Shop!

Last week I launched an online shop for my New Country series on Etsy, the world's largest online marketplace for makers and people who love fine handmade goods. After a positive debut for the work at this month's Bath Artisan Market and people asking me if it was available online to buy, I decided to open this new shop.

You'll find fun gifts for the cow, sheep and chicken lovers in your life, or maybe a little Modern Farmhouse décor for your own kitchen. For now, I'm offering high-quality art prints, greeting cards and postcards, all created from my original paintings. Other products are underway, including farm animal flag buntings.

For my first ten customers, you get a 25% discount and a special thank you gift. Please use coupon code FIRST10 when you check out. I take it as a good sign that I woke up the day after the shop launched to a sale from a dairy farmer in Maryland.

The holidays are just around the corner. If you want to take advantage of inexpensive international shipping rates from England, shop now!

Bath Artisan Market this Sunday!

This Sunday I'll be at the Bath Artisan Market again, 10am to 4pm. This month, I'm testing new products with prints and cards from my New Country series of original paintings.

 Kelly M. O'Brien,  Village Committee . Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Village Committee. Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

The prints turned out beautifully, carefully calibrated to match the color, tone and texture of the original paintings. They're printed with archival pigment inks onto creamy 300gsm fine art paper, with a half-inch boarder all around. You can frame them as is, or add a mat to create a larger framed piece.

 Kelly M. O'Brien,  Are You Lonely Over There ? Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Are You Lonely Over There? Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

Each print is signed and dated, then packaged individually in a protective sleeve with a bit of board to keep them from bending.

 Kelly M. O'Brien,  You're New Around Here, Aren't You?.  Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, You're New Around Here, Aren't You?. Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

I'll have both A3 (16.5 x 11.7 inches) and A4 (11.7 x 8.3 inches) sizes in most prints, plus blank cards and postcards for all of them. If you'd like a different size (e.g., a standard US size), please contact me directly and we'll work it out.

 Kelly M. O'Brien,  New Country  series. Blank cards from original paintings. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, New Country series. Blank cards from original paintings. ©2015.

 Kelly M. O'Brien,  New Country  series. Postcards from original paintings. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, New Country series. Postcards from original paintings. ©2015.

I hope to see you Sunday if you're in the area. It's not too early for a little holiday shopping!

Bath Artist Market Autumnfest
Sunday, October 11
10am to 4pm
Green Park Station

 Kelly M. O'Brien,  Should We Invite Her to Tea ? Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

Kelly M. O'Brien, Should We Invite Her to Tea? Limited edition prints from original painting. ©2015.

Bath Artisan Market this Sunday

 Hard Tryers at the Bath Artisan Market, Green Park Station

Hard Tryers at the Bath Artisan Market, Green Park Station

I'll be back at the Bath Artisan Market this Sunday, September 13, 10 am to 4pm. My first market in August was such a pleasure, so I'm really looking forward to this one.

 Susan Whitelock, Pulp Paper Heaven, Bath Artisan Market

Susan Whitelock, Pulp Paper Heaven, Bath Artisan Market

The other traders were inspiring with clever booth ideas and easy customer engagement. The introvert in me always finds these kinds of events a challenge, but I'll be a hard tryer and show up again anyway.

 Lydia Needle @blackdoglydia and her felted critters, Bath Artisan Market

Lydia Needle @blackdoglydia and her felted critters, Bath Artisan Market

If you're in the area, stop by and say hello. It's a wonderful way to spend a bit of your Sunday, wandering among beautifully-made work, eating food made from the heart, listening to talented musicians, and soaking up a unique slice of Bath life.

 Marilyn's "home cooked food for busy people," Bath Artisan Market

Marilyn's "home cooked food for busy people," Bath Artisan Market

More details and directions here.

 Kelly M. O'Brien, She Decides to Show Up (detail). Watercolor, coffee and pencil on paper, 8 x 6 inches. ©2013.

Kelly M. O'Brien, She Decides to Show Up (detail). Watercolor, coffee and pencil on paper, 8 x 6 inches. ©2013.

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.

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

This Sunday at Bath Artisan Market: Hard Tryers and more!

Beginning this Sunday, I am pleased to be part of the Bath Artisan Market, a curated monthly event featuring Bath's talented artist makers, gourmet food booths and local live music.

For this first market, I'm bringing small, original Hard Tryer work and Postcards. The latter are high-quality reproductions of my original mixed media prints, in the form of lovely Moo.com blank greeting cards and postcards. The original prints are happily sold out, save for a couple that are still in Germany on exhibition at grassgrün in Frankfurt.

The market is held under cover at Green Park Station, a glass-roofed former train station in downtown Bath. I'll be there most months 10am to 4pm on the second Sunday, so please come visit!

Details and directions:

Bath Artisan Market | Sunday, August 9, 10am to 4pm | Green Park Station (map) | Bath, BA1 1JB

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.

Next up for the Joint Portfolio Project: NIH

Next up for the Joint Portfolio Project: The National Institutes of Health Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland. The exhibition opened last Saturday and runs through September 11. We are also preparing for our next stop at the Bristol Art Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island.

The project's founder, Carol Strause FitzSimonds, recently interviewed me. She is preparing for a discussion panel on the project, to be hosted by the museum as part of the Opening events.

CSF: Why did you do this portfolio project?

KO: My situation is a bit different in that I am a former Printmakers, Inc. member who lives overseas. It felt great to be invited and I saw the project as a way to continue my relationship with the studio. When I was a member, we did something similar for the group's 35th anniversary and it was very rewarding.

CSF: What did you personally get out of the experience?

KO: Continued connection to a group of artists that I like and respect. An introduction to the talented printmakers of the Providence Art Club. Exposure for my work in ways I could not have garnered on my own. The satisfaction of being part of something beautiful and professionally done.

CSF: How much of your time was required to meet this committee? Biggest challenge?

KO: Developing and producing the print edition took about a month. I've also helped out with marketing by managing the project's Facebook page, which has been fun. The biggest challenge has been being so far away! I wish I could be at all of the exhibitions and meet other artists who are part of the collaboration.

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

discovering British artists: Rena Gardiner

One of the things I love about living in another country is exposure to art and artists that I might not otherwise find. My current British Artist Crush (BAC) is Rena Gardiner, an artist and printmaker who lived and worked in Dorset (1929 - 1999).

Her work captures some of the things that really appeal to me: inspired, whimsical landscapes; delicate line; color combinations that are unexpected and lush; translucency and layers. Love!

Just as remarkable is that she was apparently a one-woman DIY publisher of her 45+ books, which she illustrated, printed, bound, and distributed on her own. Makes modern day, crowdsource-funded self-published books look easy by comparison!

A new book about this unsung heroine is now out, available through Little Toller Books.

Exhibition: Joint Venture+ at Candita Clayton Gallery

The little portfolio that could is still going! Our next stop for the traveling exhibition of framed prints from the collection is Candita Clayton Gallery in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Most, if not all, of the boxed portfolio sets have been sold. Thirty-one individual framed prints are still available (one from each artist), and some artists are showing additional work as well.

new landscapes

We're getting settled into our new home, here in the English countryside. The tiny village of Stanton Prior has welcomed us warmly, and the local winter hasn't been one to complain about (sorry, East Coast friends!).

 Astro enjoying daffodils in February!

Astro enjoying daffodils in February!

The scenery consists mostly of rolling fields, hedgerows, Constable skies and farm animals. There are two working farms in our village, and my studio views include cows, sheep, ducks and chickens. It's captivating, entertaining and uncomfortable.

 View from the new studio

View from the new studio

Who knew that moving to an English-speaking country could feel so foreign? Three months in, I'm at that awkward stage between meeting new people and forming meaningful relationships. Culture shock is a fact of life, even when you speak the language. Building friendships, not to mention a local network for my work, will take time.

 Local traffic jam

Local traffic jam

This will pass, I know - it was like this when we moved to Germany. And as uncomfortable as this phase is, it's also an opportunity. Soaking up my immediate surroundings with fresh eyes will only last for so long before things look and feel more familiar.

I'm trying to capture the moment in some of my recent work. A few new studies, New Country, reflect what's going on, in more ways than one.