Week 12 – Artist Conversation – Connor O’Brien

Exhibit Information

Artist: Connor O’Brien

Exhibition: Mentia

Media: Video Recordings

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: miliapictures.com

About the Artist

Connor O’Brien is part of the BFA Photography program at CSULB where he is working towards graduating very soon. He’s working very hard towards finishing his degree; however, his father has dementia and it’s straining his school work slightly. He’s working on his photography and video skills and finishing his college career and in the time being he’s found that his dad’s illness is very time-consuming, not negatively, but it served as the driving-force behind this piece that he portrayed in this gallery.

Formal Analysis

This video production that he displayed in the Merlino gallery was filmed very well, to the point where it felt as though you were in the house with O’Brien and his father. He was able to capture all of the different angles to get different perspectives of where they were in the house and what they were doing. The pictures were very clear, the water droplets on the shower door to the creases on his father’s back from sleeping and even the texture on the spoon when he was trying to feed him his food. The detail and clarity found in each of the pictures was mesmerizing and I really felt a connection to the piece, in that I felt that through the video he was able to hook people in and make them feel as though they’re living in the house at the same time.

Content Analysis

After talking to O’Brien for a while, I really got a sense of who he was and how this illness has not only effected his father, but him as well. He explained to me that this piece was to show how much his father’s disease has taken a toll on his life and how much of him is in his everyday life. He stated that when he’s not doing art, that he’s taking care of his father and tending to his needs and, personally, I find that extremely inspiring and commendable. He’s working extremely hard to earn his degree, while at the same time being one of three caregivers in his father’s life, there’s nothing more heartwarming than that, I feel.

Synthesis/My Experience

I really enjoyed watching the video displayed in the gallery. He showed every aspect of his father’s life in a span of 2-3 minutes and in those few minutes it was easy to get a feel of how his life has been. Through this piece, I feel that he’s able to show his hard-working and loving personality that he has towards art and his father’s condition. I recently just had my great-grandpa pass away form Alzheimer’s Disease and I remember talking to him and his wife and just trying to get a feel for his condition and it was extremely bad and very time-consuming for his wife with how bad it had gotten, so as I talked to him, I felt as though I was able to relate a small amount to him. He’s been caring for him for 6 years now and I find it so inspiring that he has still worked hard towards his degree and that he’s almost finished. This piece has definitely been one of my favorite pieces that I’ve seen at the galleries due to the raw material used in it and the story behind it, of him and his father.

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