PAST Exhibitions & EVENTS
Kulture High: Work by Kelly O’Brien
Saturday June 6, 2015-6-9PM
June 6 - July 18, 2015
Kelly O’Brien’s exhibition, Kulture High, explores a tongue-in-cheek examination of how contemporary art and pop culture compete and complement one another. The pieces consist of abstracted assemblage, sculpture and paintings that are critically gazed upon by traditional oil portraiture of cats, a satirical commentary on the powerful cultural influencer of Internet cat memes.
The larger conceptual anchor of this exhibition feeds into themes found throughout O’Brien’s practice. Culturally programmed assumptions about the meaning and validity of materials and imagery play a prominent role in her humorous commentary of critique in the arts. She balances the seductive nature of the work’s intensity of color and bold structural forms with aspects of what is generally perceived as lowbrow culture. It is her way of providing redemption to “discredited” materials and imagery such as spandex and clip art cat graphics.
Her final evaluation is neither to condemn nor elevate the intent of anything she incorporates into her work. Instead it is to initiate a conversation about what is valued in our society. Peel back the layers of any cultural contribution and you are left with a frequently overlooked question does it make you feel something? Regardless of the answer O’Brien’s work inspires an amusing and enlightening sounding board for that very topic.
Kelly O’Brien is originally from Buffalo, NY. She received her BFA in Sculpture at Buffalo State College and her MFA in Sculpture at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She currently lives and works out of Minneapolis, MN, and is Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, as well as acting as a MFA mentor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. O’Brien’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as TED x Talks, the AQUA Art Fair during Miami Basel, Pedvale Sculpture Park in Sabile, Latvia and an iron casting symposium in Pirkkala, Finland. She has also had solo exhibitions at the Greer Museum, Vermont Studio Center and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.