William J O'Brien: Shame Spiral
May 9, 2019 - August 4, 2019
There is no dress code inside the tent. No choir, nor a bulletin. But the congregation is energetic and fully participatory. Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist… this is a place to reach the lost, those with tender hearts. Under the big top is a transient group who have come to the revival to be filled with the spirit, to experience something beyond this immediate world. Chicago-based artist William J. O’Brien created this exuberant sanctuary for his other-worldly parishioners, fetishistic and ritualistic figures empowered by the glory.
William J. O’Brien art is born out of an improvised and intuitive studio practice, rich in material experimentation. Through drawing, painting, sculpture, and ceramics, O’Brien explores the traditional and historical application of materials, but also employs play to refute such definitive uses. He has exhibited internationally; major exhibitions include shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin. He is an Associate Professor of Ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.