When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jack O'Hearn IV

Laundry Room (Informal Domesticity)  2010
Oil on Paper w/ Solvent Transferred Text  16" x 22"

"Tub, Sink & Washer" (Informal Domesticity)  2010
Oil on Paper w/ Inkjet Transferred Text  16" x 22"

"Sleeping Quarters" (Informal domesticity)  2012
Oil on Paper w/ Solvent Transferred Text  16" x 22"

"Obstacle" (Part of Drawing Wall)  2010
Etching & Letterpress on Antique Paper   8.5" x 11"

"Informal Relations"  Installation View

Jack O'Hearn, whose work I previously posted in Feb. 2009, recently had an installation/exhibition called "Informal Relations," held at the Art Lofts Gallery at UW-Madison. The work addresses the universality of the squatter experience around the globe; life on the margins, making do with a minimum of resources in sometimes enormous sprawling shantytowns from Mumbai to Nairobi, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro. There are several layers of engaging conceit here. The original paintings that anchor the show are presented in the format of 19th century scientific illustration, echoing an era of aggressive colonialism when blindness to social injustice was rampant despite a supposed culture of enlightened scientific rationalism. These paintings were based on still lives set up and lived with in the artist's studio. By transferring some of that material into the gallery space we are confronted by how little has changed. The exploitation of and disregard for the marginalized people of the world is in no danger of becoming a thing of the past. Their way of life is re-presented in the gallery space the way cultural artifacts from a remote village might have been displayed in a museum  a hundred years ago. Despite the fact that you could probably walk out of the gallery, down a few streets and into a nearby alley to see the next best thing. I imagine the acerbity of the wit was lost on more than a few gallery patrons.

You can see more from the exhibition as well as his wonderful realist paintings at jackohearn.com

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