I found Jessica O’Hearn when browsing around the web for artists to use on the next Friday Spotlight. She had recently shown her work at the Grey Matter Gallery here in Milwaukee and like my last Friday Spotlight, I was sad that I missed it. I need to be more on top of these things, but either way I was glad to get to know her work for this post. Her work deals with contrasting natural and man-made elements that come together in a unique balanced harmony. She is a professional artist and her work has been shown around the country. I was drawn to her work after seeing the first image of her carpet and shelf creations and can’t wait to see them in person some day.
Jessica O’Hearn: Statement:
My use of materials stems from an interest in the relationship of landscape to architecture. My attraction to tactility and subtle color leads me to compulsively collect natural objects and urban materials. I approach installation in a similar way, as an act of discovery. The forms stem from observation and imagination and transform with every space they exist. Like the spaces we choose to create and inhabit, these works are temporary and infinite, serving as support and a reminder of how fleeting our structures can be.
“I do build my sculptures in a very organic way, slowly building around structures without much of a preconceived idea of what the form will look like. Since there is so much available to consumers to simulate nature in and around the home, I like to play with the idea that these synthetic materials can actually ‘grow’ and overtake a stable material.” –JO I love her concept that even non-natural objects can seem to grow around us. She does not always go into a sculpture knowing what it will become. She embraces the materials she has found and uses them to show that even synthetic materials can seem to grow over and take over stable materials. I love that I can relate with her on how getting older in life changes your views on your own work. In an interview with Glasschord, she talks about getting older and having less control on life and letting that be in influence in her work. She embraces letting go of the controlled aspects of her work. I often feel life is so serious, that my personal work and my large scale paintings are the only opportunities I have to let go from all of my plans and to-do lists and just let things happen in the most impulsive way.
While a lot of her work takes the 3D form, she also works with 2D mixed media drawings, which are also very lively. I have been able to see these works in person at a past gallery night. They are really organic from a distance and seem more structured as you near. I love the attention to detail in the drawings and really appreciate her time she spent. That is a concept I find myself being drawn to more and more in other artists–time spent with the work. I am also pursuing this in my own work. My hope is that people think of presence of the artist when viewing my work, my larger pieces in particular. When I spend hours with a tiny paint brush doing a pattern over and over again, I want people to feel a connection with the me and the pattern. In Jessica’s drawings, you can tell she must has spent a lot of sweat and tears to get the paper collage portions to seem so effortless. I like thinking of her work ethic and patience while I enjoy her beautiful creations.
Below are other sculptures she has created that seem much more on the natural side, even though they are made from cardboard, vellum or paper. These seem more decorative then the works above, without the man made elements next to the natural you loose a lot of the conceptual contrast. But I would still really enjoy and probably find hours of viewing enjoyment from owning a piece like the ones below.
Currently you can see her work at two University of Wisconsin Shows:
University of Wisconsin-Madison Class of 1925 Gallery
800 Langdon Street Madison, WI
February 1 – March 5 2013
University of Wisconsin-Waukesha Fine Arts Center Gallery
January 28 – March 29 2013
Here are some great articles and interviews with Jessica:
Arthound.com/2012/02/artist-crush-jessica-ohearn/ –I love that this is another artist like me who has “artist crushes” instead of Friday spotlights
All images taken from either jessicaohearn.com or from the articles listed above.