WTP 2017 Second Place Fine Art Winner

WTP 2017 Second Place Fine Art Winner

Bart O’Reilly

Bart O’Reilly was born in Dublin, Ireland, and has lived in Maryland since 2003. He makes interdisciplinary work that includes painting, drawing, poetry, and video. He teaches at The Maryland Institute College of Art and Hartford Community College. His work has been shown extensively in Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, as well as in Ireland and Northern Ireland. He was awarded his BFA from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin in 2000 and his MFA from MICA in 2012. He has been the recipient of grants from The Baltimore Social Innovation Journal and an Individual Artists Award from The Baltimore Office of Promotions and the Arts.

 O’Reilly’s works are often acrylic on canvas, but he explores a variety of mediums: “Using drawing, painting, video, poetry, and installation I ask questions like what do we see when we pay attention? And how can color, light, and shadow affect our perception of form, space, and material? I explore color as a subject in itself.” And some of these works are inspired by childhood memories: “Paintings and poems rooted in emotions, people, and places as they meander around present world events and life in twenty-first-century America. They consider territory, ownership, politics and landscape. My dear friend and mentor Renee Van der Stelt has pointed out that they are whatever arises on a given day. The present evokes the past. A rainy afternoon, a vivid dream or a chance encounter with a total stranger, suggest new ways to describe the experiences that shape me. Personal content moves, rises and falls. It becomes color, line, or verse. It forgets and remembers its original intention as it leaves a door open for the next moment, always in a state of becoming. Action comes from impulse, the need to capture, before it moves on. Tomorrow’s painting and poem will be entirely different. Bound to the past, while aspiring to mindfulness of the present, I seek the instantaneous and the static, the slow and the moving all at once, with a hope to articulate something of these ever-shifting states.”

O’Reilly adds, “There is also an interest in the associations that can arise from the application of sparse and reductive painterly techniques. It seems natural to seek to understand the gestalt or the whole of our experience with the world. How do we occupy space? How accurate are our perceptions compared with the true nature of reality? Such a desire, however, limits and frustrates us. As finite creatures our faculties of perception grow, develop, and deteriorate over time. Even at our sharpest we are 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 understand the ever-shifting relationship between what we perceive and what we claim to know.”

Learn more about O’Reilly on his website www.bartoreilly.net.

Look for his work in the WTP 2017 special winners edition in December.

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