William J. O'Brien: Works on Paper
September 24, 2011 - November 4, 2011

Artist Biography
William J. O'Brien

 

 

WILLIAM J. O'BRIEN

 

Born 1975, Newberry, Oh

Lives in Chicago, IL       

 

 

EDUCATION

 

2005   MFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1997   BA, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL

 

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

 

2011   SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH

           The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

           Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL

2010   Shane Campbell Gallery, Oak Park, IL

2009   Susanne Hilberry Gallery, Detroit, MI

           Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY

2007   the axis mundi, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL

2006   When Your Heart Is on Fire, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Locust Projects, Miami, FL

2005   12 x 12, New Artists, New Work, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

           A Fairy Tale, Curated by Jose Diaz and Nina Arias, Ingalls and Associates, Miami, FL

 

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

 

2011   Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2010   Drawing, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL

           Mystic Visage, World Class Boxing, Miami, FL

           At Home/Not Home: Works from the Collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, CCS Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

           New Icon, Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, IL

2009   Selected Works from the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

           An Expanded Field of Possibilities, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA

           Reskilling, Western Front Exhibitions, Vancouver, Canada

2008   Now You See It, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO

           Sara Barker, Patrick Hill, Matthew Monahan, William J. O'Brien, Sterling Ruby, Andrea Rosen Gallery, Gallery 2, New York, NY

           Andy Coolquitt, Frank Haines, William J. O'Brien, Krinzinger Projekte, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria

           Jesuvian Process, Elizabeth Dee, New York, NY

2007   William J. O'Brien/Anthony Pearson, Project Space, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY

           Makers and Modelers: Works in Ceramic, Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY

           Sonotube® Forms: Contemporary Art and Transport, Santa Barbara    Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA

           Jesse Chapman, Aliza Nisenbaum, William J. O'Brien, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL

           So Wrong, I'm Right, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA

           Stuff: International Contemporary Art from the Collection of Burt Aaron, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI

2006   Modern Primitivism, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL

           Josh Mannis, Eric Lebofsky, William J. O'Brien, Western Exhibitions, Chicago, IL

           MIXART, The James Hotel, Chicago, IL

           Pathetisize, Curated by Alex May, Open End Gallery, Chicago, IL

           Champagne, Curated by Jose Diaz, Nina Menocal Projects, Mexico City, Mexico

           Cluster, Curated by Katie Holten, Participant, Inc, New York, NY

2005   Certain People I Know, Curated by Tommy Everett, Margaret Thatcher Projects, New York, NY

           We Created a Monster, Curated by Frederick Janka, Nina Menocal Projects for Art Basel, Miami, FL

           CoDependent, Curated by Gean Moreno, The Living Room for Art Basel, Miami, FL

           Winter Group Show, Curated by Steph Pavone, Booster and Seven, Chicago, IL

           Eagle Hand's Moon and The Orange Savior, The Church of the Friendly Ghost, Austin, TX

           Summer Group Show, Curated by Steph Pavone, Contemporary Art     Workshop, Chicago, IL

           Bilingual, Curated by Tracy Taylor, Ukranian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, IL

           Drawn Out, Curated by Tracy Taylor, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, IL

           In Print2:  Diamonds on Archer, Chicago, IL

           Macerate, Curated by Currency Exchange, Around the Coyote Gallery, Chicago, IL

           M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, Gallery 2, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

           Stygine's Creek, Video Screening Curated by Ruba Katrib, Three-Walls Gallery, Chicago, IL

           Take My Hand, Curated by Ruba Katrib (Traveling), Nina Menocal Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico

           Appropriating Feminist Strategies, Gallery 1926, Chicago, IL

           Take My Hand, Curated by Ruba Katrib, Three-Walls Gallery, Chicago, IL

2004   Night of 1,000 Drawings, Artist Space, New York, NY    

           Click Formation, Open End Gallery, Chicago, IL

           The Pilot Conference, Symbology Bathroom, Chicago, IL

           Identity Crisis, Marshall Arts @ Delta Axis, Memphis, TN

           Art Poster Show, Objex Artspace, Miami, FL

           G2 Group Show, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

           Abracadabra, Rocket Projects, Miami, FL

           3 on 3, 3 Straight Artists Curate 3 Gay Artists, Higher Gallery, Chicago, IL

           Eric Lebofsky, Josh Mannis, William O'Brien, 1/Quarterly Space, Chicago, IL

           Art Mule, The Stray Show, Chicago, IL

           Small Victories, Modest Contemporary Art Projects, Chicago, IL

2003   La Superrette, Deitch Projects, Participant, Inc., New York, NY

           100% Cotton, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

           White Haute, Shaff Gallery, Chicago, IL

2001   Annual Members Show, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY

           Out and About, Benefit Invitation Group Show, SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, OH

1997   Undergraduate Thesis Show, Crown Center Gallery, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL

 

 

AWARDS

 

Artadia: The Fund for Art & Dialogue, 2007 Chicago Finalist, Grant Recipient

Vermont Studio Center, Full Fellowship Residency

Mellon Award, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL

 

 

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

 

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan

Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

 

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Jacobson, Heidi Zuckerman. "Now You See It: Paintings That Demand a Second Look."

Aspen Magazine, Holiday 2008-09.

Oksenhorn, Stewart. "'Blindness Isn't an Option.'" Aspen Times, December 18, 2008, Entertainment section.

Jacobson, Heidi Zuckerman, Peter Eleey, Jeremy Sigler, George Stranahan, and Paul Valery. Now You See It. Aspen: Aspen Art Press, 2008.

Taft, Catherine. "'Base: Object,' Andrea Rosen Gallery." Artforum.com. http://www.artforum.com/archive/id=21479 (accessed November 20, 2008).

Dault, Julia. "Akimblog: New York City." Akimbo. http://www.akimbo.biz/akimblog/?id=242

(accessed November 19, 2008).

NY Art Beat Events. "'Base: Object" Exhibition." NY Art Beat.com. http://www.nyartbeat.com/event/2008/2F2A

(accessed October 25, 2008).

Vogel, Sabine B. "Andy Coolquitt, Frank Haines, William J. O'Brien: Krinzinger Projekte." Artforum.com. http://artforum.com/archive/id=20131 (accessed May 5, 2008).

Tranberg, Dan. "Review: 'Out of Sight' at Front Room Gallery, Cleveland." Beautiful/Decay. http://www.beautifuldecay.com/anthology.php (accessed April 29, 2008).

Reilly, Brittany. "Breakout Artists: Chicago's Next Generation of Image Makers." New City Chicago, April 24, 2008, Arts section.

Seckler, Judy. "Review: Makers and Modelers: Works in Ceramic." Ceramics Monthly April (2008): 24-26.

Grabner, Michelle. "Makers and Modelers: Works in Ceramic." X-Tra 10, No. 3 (2008): 54.

Sonnenborn, Katie. "Makers and Modellers." Frieze 113 (2008): 182.

Yood, James. "William J. O'Brien: Shane Campbell Gallery." Artforum XLVI, No. 4 (2007): 360.

Darwent, Charles. "Reviews: Makers and Modelers: Works in Ceramic." Crafts Magazine for Contemporary Art November/December (2007): 68.

Smith, Roberta. "Museum and Gallery Listings: 'Makers and Modelers: Works in Ceramic.'" New York Times, September 28, 2007, Art & Design section.

Fry, Naomi.  "'Makers and Modelers, Gladstone Gallery'." Artforum.com.

http://www.artforum.com/picks/section=nyc#picks17964 (accessed September 10, 2007).

Smith, Roberta. "It's Just Clay, but How About a Little Respect?" New York Times, September 7, 2007, Weekend Arts,Fine Arts/Leisure section.

Weinberg, Lauren. "Lebofsky, Mannis, and O'Brien." Time Out Chicago, June 29-July 6, 2006.

"Dan Devening Editions, William J. O'Brien." Chicago Social, May 2006.

"Dan Devening Editions at Art Chicago: William J. O'Brien." Time Out Chicago, May 2006.

Moreno, Gean. "William J. O'Brien." Art Papers, March/April, 2006.

Tyson, Josh. "Group Show: Booster and Seven." Time Out Chicago, December 15-29, 2005.

Rosenfeld, Kathryn. "The Inner Light, Absurdity and the Tactics of Perversion: William J. O'Brien." CAC Chicago Artists'News, December 2005.

Heidemann, Jason A. "Out on the Town...Taking in Queer Culture." Time Out Chicago, October 20-27, 2005.

Davis, Andrew. "Gay Artist Featured at MCA." Windy City Times, October 2005.

Pesanti, Heather. Macerate Catalogue Essay, May 2005.

Nusser, Madeline. "Macerate." Time Out Chicago, June 16-23, 2005.

Hawkins, Margaret. "Take My Hand." Chicago Sun-Times, February 4, 2005, Weekend section.

"Gay Broken Hearts." Genre Magazine, September Issue.

"Girls, Boys, Pop Music." Teen Vogue, December/January Issue.

 

 

 


Press Releases
William J. O'Brien: Works on Paper

 

 

WILLIAM J. O'BRIEN

 

Works on Paper

 

September 24 - November 4, 2011

 

SHAHEEN is delighted to announce an exhibition of new and recent works on paper by Chicago based artist and Northeast Ohio native William J. O'Brien.  The exhibition will be the first devoted exclusively to O'Brien's drawings.  There will be an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, September 24th, from 6:30-8:30pm.

 

O'Brien's multidisciplinary artistic practice, and the visually and materially disparate, yet coherent body of work that it generates is fueled by a frenetic creative impulse that conflates and counterbalances hard edge and gesture, rawness and refinement, system and intuition, repetitive order and chaos, and structure and entropic breakdown.  While O'Brien's diverse output encompasses sculpture, ceramic objects, painting, assemblage and photography, his works on paper are perhaps the most consistent and clearest underpinning of his overall body of work to date.  The artist's exhibition at SHAHEEN will include eleven carefully selected abstract mid- and large-scale works on paper that recall a panoply of visual influences and precedents including architecture, design, Abstract Expressionist painting, Op Art, geometric abstraction, Navajo textiles, the modernist paintings of Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger, quilting and stained glass, among others.  This confluence of references spawns works that are often retro in look, but distinctly contemporary in sensibility.

 

The dense, heavily worked, and often brightly hued colored pencil drawings that will appear at SHAHEEN juxtapose and counter-balance O'Brien's strong concern for rigorous, repetitive structure - primarily that of the grid - with his intuitive tendency toward freewheeling gesture and mark-making.  In many of the colored pencil drawings, the intermingling  (or perhaps superimposition) of a defined, often angular visual matrix with a far less orderly network of gestures and marks generates deep, dense, entropic spaces.  In a trio of large scale works executed in oil pastel on paper, the structure that pervades the majority of O'Brien's colored pencil drawings gives way to swooping, all-over gesture and long curvilinear skeins of color reminiscent of Jackson Pollock, or Brice Marden unrestrained.  While there is an undeniable depth and density to the visual entanglements in these works, they are simultaneously characterized by an openness of space that stands in contrast to many of the colored pencil drawings.  In both strains of work, there is a strong sense of physicality that can be traced directly to O'Brien's absorption in his working process, and the labor intensiveness of his execution.  Also on full display is the artist's ability to reconcile his unrestrained creative energy and outflow with his sophisticated sense of space, color, composition and design, and hold these elements in dynamic counterbalance.  The resulting works on paper are simultaneously raw and refined, deliberate and intuitive.

 

A native of Newbury, Ohio, William J. O'Brien currently lives and works in Chicago, where he received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Over the past few years, O'Brien's work has appeared in numerous solo and group gallery and museum exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including a recent solo museum exhibition at The Renaissance Society (University of Chicago); one person gallery exhibitions at Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; and group exhbitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York; Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; and the Aspen Art Museum. O'Brien's work resides in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hara Museum of Art, Japan, and the Miami Art Museum.

 

 

 



William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
colored pencil and ink on paper
50 x 38 inches

William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2008
colored pencil and ink on paper
62 x 42 inches


William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2010
colored pencil on paper
68 x 36 inches

William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
colored pencil and ink on paper
30 x 22 inches


William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
colored pencil and ink on paper
30 x 22 inches

William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
colored pencil and ink on paper
30 x 22 inches


William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
colored pencil and ink on paper
30 x 22 inches

William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
colored pencil and ink on paper
30 x 22 inches


William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
oil pastel on paper
71 x 36 inches

William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
oil pastel on paper
71 x 36 inches


William J. O'Brien
Untitled, 2009
oil pastel on paper
71 x 36 inches