Fellows: John O'Reilly

From Columbus, OH, O’Reilly received a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design. After a year of attending New York Academy of Art, he was awarded a residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in 2009 and exhibited there. John's work has been in group shows at galleries including Danese's"Other as Animal," curated by April Gornik in Chelsea, New York City. O’Reilly’s work focuses on universal parallels. His work explores a wide range of issues from comparative vertebrate anatomy to sociology, psychology, genealogy and familial development. Through the manifestation of drawing and sculpture, his work asks the viewer questions of perception in how we as human beings relate to one another.

While you’re in the middle of your Fellowship year, what do you find challenging and satisfying?

As a student getting ready to graduate, I had a specific line of thought I wanted to develop. Using the beginning of my fellowship year to “look inward,” I’ve been able to develop that strain of thought and also to “look outward” by seeing galleries and museums and other artists’ studios. Now I want to digest it all, react visually, and see how it adds to my original intent. My work explores “breath.” The intake, the absorption, the release… the pulse is getting stronger the breaths are getting deeper.

There are now so many “shadows” of ideas that are lingering and morphing into my work, I want to make more projects to elaborate… but the studio space I occupy is filling up quickly and I wish I had more area to create more work. I don’t want to discard anything I’ve started, but I have to – due to my space and time limitations (the Fellows’ Exhibition is coming up in September 2011) – be more selective about which themes I pursue.

John in his studio at the Academy

It’s a constant continuation and evolution. The more things I do, the more they inform each other and reveal a dialogue with myself. I find satisfaction in letting my intuition take over in the process. It becomes meditative where everything slows down and I’m able to sift through ideas and discoveries that manifest themselves in a physical object.

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