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Rob O'Connor
Deus ex Machina
7 August to 3 September 2009


 

Shhh.

I'm going to hypnotise you. I don't
have a watch. I have pictures. Look at them. Concentrate and they
will begin to move and sing to you.

Rob O'Connor works with fragments, with
cyphers, with echoes and with time. The shattered and mangled image
of modern life gathered up and made precious. There is beauty, always
beauty, but the beauty is often hideous.

Let me explain.

All our lives we absorb information. We
learn colour and form as children, we learn words which stand between
us and everything else that there is – even our lovers. We are the
compulsive communicators and we share everything that we are with
language and signs.
These paintings are Rob's language. He
invented it himself, out of fragments of everything that he sees. It
is terrible how much there is to take in and make sense of. We are
surrounded and subjected to a constant argument of flickering
imagery. There is so much we do not notice. Rob notices things
though. His eye makes him. He collects the sights of now. He catalogs
vision and hallucination, songs, films, the servants of vampires, the
unstable poetry of the blue collar drunk and the antics of the
Holy Oaf. All these things are present and correct.

Look at them.

Rob made the paintings but it's not
like that. They make him too. He doesn't know sometimes what the hell
is going on. The image is already there. They say Michaelangelo saw
David in a flawed block of marble – that was the one. It was
already there. He removed the parts that were not David.
Rob makes paintings a bit like that.
They are already there. He fills them in. The images came from
elsewhere and landed on these surfaces, ectoplasm of staining the
surface with potency long before any paint is applied. Rob has herded
them in. He whistles up demons and magicians and places them just so,
tweaking again and again. Get round behind. Don't move. Stay still.
There you are.

The sights of now, the images of then,
deserts and poets and old long dead people. All here again, collected
into a new language, a new symbolic order. A beautiful technique –
supernaturally so – that corals horror, makes it beautiful enough
for us to bear to glance at, then realise we cannot look away at all.
All there in these paintings. Collections of alleged random images
that become symbols, poems made of paint and light and a
little blood, that could be anything but I'll tell you a secret – they are
the way you talk to God if you are unsure if He is truly there or
not. Prayers for atheists. Cascades of now. Bright wounds that bleed
the infinite.

Beautiful pictures of terrible things.
Terrible things that you need to see so you can begin think again.

Wake up now. Go about your business.

Andrew Harper, 2009

Andrew Harper makes a wide variety of art, occasionally. His practice has been varied, but he is mostly known for performance. He also writes about art for a number of publications.

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> Artist's home page

> Past exhibitions

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