Degree: BA Hons Fine Art
University: Wimbledon College of Art
Graduation Year: 2015
See artwork in-situ
James O’Connell uses the passage of time as a subject matter for his work. The repetitive mixing of colour, loading of the brush and application of paint is a response to today’s acceleration of culture and images and a way to dislodge visual conventions, thus demanding greater space, time and attention. “I often think about Cezanne’s comment, ‘one must see nature as no one has seen it before’, in response to post-industrialism and the changes in our visual experiences, especially now in the digital age.” The intention is to create an object that is both immersive and romantic in terms of contemporary escapism.
The relationships between the paintings are the subject matter for the work, as well as that to the viewer. The specific artistic practice is primarily monastic and concerned with problem solving, whether considering a compositional solution within a painting, or punctuated by how an artwork can challenge ordinary conventions and engage with an audience in a unique way. Rather than the work to fulfil criteria for the audience, it is a concentrated attempt of addressing the viewer with a set of elements that demand from the viewer greater time, space and attention. The use of perspective and vocabulary of personal visual motifs leads to the space surrounding the work to expand in a sculptural way.
The work is created in response to the issues posed by today’s acceleration of society and culture. The process is thus primarily problem solving, whether considering a compositional solution or how to engage with an audience in a unique way, different to other forms of imagery. I see paint as a potential vehicle to offer respite. Within each work there is a tension between rationality; viewing the surface of the painting as a flat image, and the irrational; considering the pictorial plane as window to itself, looking inwards. At this point, illusion resides as a form of deceiving the viewer and challenging what it thought to be true. There are layers of interaction through the presentations of clues – images that are only revealed once viewing from a specific angle and distance. These clues present themselves as a key to unlock further points to interact further, romantic and immersive in terms of contemporary escapism.
2014, Hans Brinker Painting Prize First Place
2014, BP Portrait Award Shortlisted
2013, BP Portrait Award Shortlisted
2015 Repetition and Variation with Louise Bourgeois and Bridget Riley
2015, Wimbledon Graduate Summer Show