O’Connell’s exhibit inspired by his travel observations – CSB / SJU

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Kathleen O’Connell’s The upcoming art exhibit draws on the observations and conversations she’s had on her past travels, making it a must-have for those who want to remember a world before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Word for Word” will be exhibited from November 9 to January 7, 2022 at the Gorecki gallery of Saint-Benoît College. The exhibition is part of the Visual Arts series of the CBS and the University of Saint John’s.

There will be a virtual artist talk by O’Connell at 6 p.m. on December 2. A link to his talk will be available at a later date.

The exhibition presents texts collected from messages, conversations, books, press articles and translations that have been misunderstood or reinterpreted.

O’Connell explained how she goes about creating her work which is known for implementing rich colors, patterns, text and shapes with attention to detail.

“I spend a lot of time thinking about what text is going to go into this work,” she said, “It’s one of those things where I’ll write certain things down and then let them float in my mind. for a long time and then some of the less important versions of these things go away.The ones that remain are usually the ones that I use for work, or edit lightly, to get into the work to make it graphically correct.

“I think about it more by finding patterns and finding nuances in things and comparing things in what I’ve seen happening here and there in my life before or since then I reflect on all those previous experiences. “she said.

O’Connell spoke about meditation and ritual as it relates to his daily practice of creating art.

“It started out as this daily practice, where I really put everything that was outside of me in the background and just started doing it for my own good – doing it as a way to have my morning coffee and doing lettering is really what it has become and it was the ritual I did every day, ”she said.

His work includes colorful pieces made from letters and others created by inkjet printing.

“There is work that is entirely digitally created and there is work that is going to be hand lettering / drawing work, but everything is work on paper. I love the paper and what ties all the work together, other than the words and the text and that sort of thing, is that they all involve a lot of patterns and colored elements, ”she said. declared.

O’Connell received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she met Rachel Melis, associate professor of CSB / SJU art.

“I have admired her dynamic personality and her work from the moment I met her in college. She draws people in with her colors and playful words, which reveal carefully practiced combinations of visual and verbal patterns. More recently, I’ve marveled at the handwritten work she shares on social media. Each piece conveys wit, humor and empathy for the human experience. His work connects today’s design trends and memes with historic typography and subtle, multi-layered meanings, ”said Melis.

O’Connell mentioned that she was inspired by her mental state as a traveler of Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities” and more specifically by her character Marco Polo, who was a traveler to a place he didn’t speak. language but relied on gestures, intonation and repetition. Unlike Polo, O’Connell found her traveler mental state hearing stories and voices from mothers, aunts, grandmothers, children and lovers. She collected experiences and stories from the local people where she traveled.

“I feel like this mental state is made up of heightened observations and I’m always trying to think about the difference between myself here, say in my everyday life, versus this travel state.” , O’Connell said.

Not being able to travel did not affect his work.

“I think a lot of my job is traveling, but as much as it is about traveling, it doesn’t always require traveling because I have traveled enough to stock up on information for a long time. That way I don’t think COVID affected the job, ”she said.

For those who haven’t been able to travel due to COVID restrictions, O’Connell’s exhibit is a great way to get your travel fix – no planes required.

The Gorecki Gallery at Benedicta Arts Center, CSB, is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (FAE available 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday). The gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday. Guests will need to adhere to campus-wide policies to reduce transmission of COVID-19, including wearing masks and respecting social distancing.

This activity is made possible in part by voters in Minnesota through an operating support grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through a legislative appropriation of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


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