Short Artist Statement

Kevin L. O'Brien (kLoB)

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, super real, by accentuating it's physical characteristics, texture and enhancing its 3D quality.
Reverence for the fine, finished patinas that might normally apply to 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), as well as the influnence of Street art, and instead, a reverence for art of young children worldwide (who are trying to tell us something). The high-power and energy of those jazz 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. I also try to avoid creating a work that has that "finished", "production" look, of which I am not fond. Instead, I developed a new primitive kind of "cobbling" skills to hold these materials together, and worrying about loose hanging edges, polish etc. was lost, in favor of spray paint, etc.
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, current everyday objects, depicted as in Pop earlier, 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, in symbol form. The symbols might be fashioned more in the brute manner of Dubuffet, young children or early cultures, so as to fit more with expressionistic force. Included in the vocabualry are images from industrial culture themselves, in an attempt to bring the imagery home to subjects of the industrial realm. 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, and more powerful!
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. To enhance this I add super glossy finishes, glitter and shiny materials causing contrast. 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/art has been exhausted, or that art now must explore new materials/media to be able to make a valid statement. New media alone is not enough, it is instead the message itself which is important.
Finally, since, to me, the spiritual is directly self-evident, it is also present in my work. The political and socio-political world are foreign to my art. I do not believe that all forms of expressionistic endeavors are now meaningless, or have been done. Instead I hope to use this form to accentuate what is relevant, and heighten its impact.