Kevin L. O'Brien (kLoB)

BIO

Born in: 1952
Kevin L. O'Brien (kLoB) lives and works in Boston, MA, USA.

He graduated from the University Of Massachusetts in 1974, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. Studied with John Grillo, and was a student of  the legendary teacher Hans Hoffman, one of the most important figures of postwar American art. 
 
His work has been exhibited in some US galleries in Boston, Minneapolis and also in art fairs, including Parallax Art fair in New York and also SM'ART Mediterranean Contemporary and Abstract Art in Aix-en-Provence, France, he also participated in international juried competitions and received multiple awards for his work.


ARTIST STATEMENT

I am a proponent of Pan-Global, Industrial, Supra-Expressionism which attempts to utilize materials from global industrial culture within works created as art. The juxtaposition of the bold expressionistic strokes on the stark, bland industrial materials causes a good deal of tension. The bright colors used in the textures further differentiate the energy of the expressionistic strokes from the dullness of the main materials. I say Pan-Global because it is my belief that all cultures have been absorbed into the Industrialscape, in one way or another, and it is an artist's job to rediscover culture, and redeclare it boldly, without hesitation, using the new vocabulary they have been given, because there is no going backwards. It is "Supra" because an attempt is made to make the expressionistic content real, very real, by accentuating it's physical characteristics, texture and enhancing its 3D quality.
 
Reverence for the fine finished patinas that normally apply to art, as in art school or commercial art can be dispensed with for the boldness of an energy more sympathetic with rock and roll (e.g., jimi hendrix), r & b and/or jazz music (e.g., Coltrane). The high-power and energy of these musical expressions had a dramatic impact. Use of industrial materials in new combines (as influenced by Rauschenberg et al.) further stressed new ideas of how materials might be combined, and but also marked a work as having that "finished" look, of which I am not fond. A new primitive kind of "carpentry" skills were developed to hold thesem aterials together, and worry about loose hanging edges, polish etc. were lost. 
 
Of course, there was a new vocabulary of objects that needed to be created and new motifs that needed to be developed and depicted using this type of expression. My symbols were inspired by Klee, Dubuffet, children's art, the "early" people of many different lands. Of course, everyday objects depicted as in Pop were sucked into this imagery
through the industrial-scape. I try to develop a symbol from pseudo-figurative state, along a continuum until it becomes my own. The symbols might be fashioned more in the brute manner of Dubuffet, young children or early cultures, as fit more with expressionistic force. But this work cannot be relegated as being "Art Brut", or stereotyped
in a similar manner because of its continuous relevant innovation in industrialism. I try to break the energy of the subject into separate snippets that then fit back together in a manner that makes the whole clear! 
 
The effects of Surrealism on my work helped break things up into new arrangements, pieces, relationships, even melding forms together. Its super-focus and startling sharpness helped provide a basis for the glistening effects I like to add to some works, as if glowing within an industrial subway, or a modern cave. The rearrangement of shape and form helped me to melt normal shapes into new forms, which could better be used to express their industrial energy. 
 
I do not feel that use of the basic materials of painting has been exhausted, or that art now must explore new materials/media to be able to make a valid statement. New media often provides a false feeling of physical, conceptual innovation
 


Cola 2013 (with label) on subway/graffiti 

Acrylic & Mixed Media
92  H x 67 W  x 11 cm D
 
 
 
Electric Reindeer 4
 
Acrylic & Mixed Media
 67 H x 92 W x 11 cm D
 
 
 
Van Gogh's Sunflowers
 
 
Acrylic & Mixed Media
92  H x 67 W  x 11 cm D 
 
 
Google (on my computer screen)
 
Acrylic & Mixed Media
(82 x 91 cm) 
 
 
My private Auvers
 
 Acrylic & Mixed Media
(82 x 91 cm) 
 
 
Star Spangled Banner
 
Acrylic & Mixed Media
(82 x 91 cm)