Bart O'Reilly: Objects and Place

Pure for an Hour: Digital Photo. Dimensions Variable

Winters Grip: Digital Photo. Dimensions Variable

Listening to the Water Evaporate: Rust Oil and Dirt on Watercolor paper. 12'x3'

Ashes at the Edge of Darkness. Ash, graphite and joint
compound on watercolor paper. 48"x36"

My work is concerned with light, shadow, color and perception, I explore the potential of objects and place, how they occupy space and interact with them using drawing, painting, video, installation and poetry in a way that is sensitive to their history and materiality. While there is a strong interest in the objects and their place of origin I am also aware that all I really have is the present. I can speculate about their history, their cultural origins and how they came to be where they are but it is at best an educated guess. The statement that you can tell a lot about a society by what it throws away holds true for me, but often the fragments mask as much as they reveal.

Down with Red: 12"x9" Dirt and burnt hat on Plexiglas.

Stepping Up: 12"x9" Dirt on Plexiglas. 

Inside Seems Warm by the Hearth. Rock dust,
Ash and Joint Compound on Board. 49" x 31"..

Using drawing, painting, video, installation and poetry I document improvisational exercises in my studio to explore the objects materiality and the space of the room itself. In a sense I am finding ways to paint that lead me and hopefully the viewer outside of the rectangle of the canvas they and then allow them to fall back in. Using the camera, the canvas or the page as a framing device, I am asking several important formal questions. What do we see when we pay attention? How is the drawing or painting process different to what the camera sees? And how do my interactions effect the environment I occupy? It seems natural to seek to understand the gestalt or the whole of the object, how does it occupy space how does it look from the camera perspective compared to my perspective as a painter. It seems to me however that such a desire limits and frustrates us. As finite creatures our faculties of perception grow, develop, and deteriorate over time.  Even at our sharpest we influenced by countless factors relating to environment, culture and our place in history. A claim to truly know or understand seems at best arrogant and at worst extremely dangerous. I try to explore the slippage between what we perceive and what we claim to know.  

Anything Could Happen Here. Dirt,paper and gesso on board. 24"x24"

About the Artist
Bart O'Reilly was born in Dublin, Ireland (1975) He has a BFA from The National College of Art in Dublin and a MFA in studio art from The Maryland Institute College of Art where he received the 2012 MFAST Award. He now lives in Baltimore, MD. USA. He has been a practicing artist for 14 years and has shown extensively in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and in Ireland and Northern Ireland. His work explores how we perceive place through the use of video installation, projections, sound recordings, spoken word poetry and painting and drawing. He teaches painting and two- dimensional design at Harford Community College. He has over 7 years experience running and teaching in art programs that serve the needs of adults with developmental disabilities and has collaborated with students to produce exhibitions and site -specific installations.