Kevin O'Brien
do not feel that use of the basic materials of painting has been exhausted
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Influenced by Van Gogh (and Abstract Expressionism), Rauschenberg, Klee, Dubuffet, children's art, surrealism, dada, pop art, jimi hendrix and high-energy jazz (e.g., Coltrane), etc.
I was awed and knocked to the ground by Van Gogh's art (especially when I saw it in person). It walks a thin line between markings on some surface that depict something, and tracing the flow of energy through that being. Later expressionist movements helped expand the vocabulary that can be used.
Surrealism also had an impact – its super-focus and startling sharpness helped provide a basis for the glistening effects I like to add to some works. Its rearrangement of shape and form helped me to melt normal shapes into new forms, which could better be used to express their energy. The collage work of Rauschenberg and others further contributed to the breaking down of the normal arrangement of form.
Paul Klee and others developed a language using symbols. Children in their art create symbols for well-known entities that often form a basic vocabulary to represent things commonly found in their world. Dubuffet expanded on this idea. I try to add in symbols known to modern industrial culture, in the manner of Pop Art, but using basic industrial materials themselves, more in the brute manner of Dubuffet, children or early cultures.
High energy jazz and rock and roll, like John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, helped me to expand my ideas about high energy expression, itself.
I do not feel that use of the basic materials of painting has been exhausted, or that art now must explore new materials/media to be able to make a valid statement.
Finally, since, to me, the spiritual is directly self-evident, it is also present in my work. The political and socio-political world are foreign to my art.

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