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John J. O’Connor: C’OD(e)R

Jun 17 — Aug 20, 2010

Featuring work by: John J. O’Connor

Fleisher/Ollman is pleased to present drawings, paintings, collages and select sculptures by John J. O'Connor. Also on view will be intimate, patterned paintings and a wall-sized digital print by Kate Abercrombie.

John J. O'Connor creates works that meander through a complex course. From a starting point in personal data (the artist's weight), chance (the roll of a die or winning lottery numbers) or statistics (the largest peaks and falls in the history of the U.S. stock market, or results from a Gallup poll concerning public confidence in the government), O'Connor's works, made from graphite, colored pencil, paint and found materials, are composites of quirky decisions, seemingly illogical tangents and obscure codes that end in a practice that is as much an homage to visualizing information as it is to pure abstraction. While giving form to formless information and pattern to seemingly patternless data, the artist simultaneously gives abstract mark-making some quantitative and measurable meaning.

Throughout his process, the artist clearly follows a highly personal logic and openly borrows from the major artistic movements of the last century: the Modernist belief that flatness kills illusion and reveals truth, moments of Abstract Expressionistic paint application, Pop Art's use of signs and symbols, Op Art's perceptual experience and patterning, the role of an artist's body and chance in Performance, and Conceptual Art's creation of pictorial images driven by non-visual information.

Today's headlines, a political speech, a statistical graph or even the physical attributes of the paper on which the artist draws become coded line, color, shape and text, a translation that at once makes the source material more visible and less legible. O'Connor's unique hybrid of bewildering data, far-flung references, mind maps, invented systems, and pseudo- scientific research make the panoply of information embedded in each drawing rarely accessible and impossible to decode. What is apparent to the viewer who attempts to read the work is scattershot surfaces with abrupt shifts, disjointed areas, visual tangents and spindly bits of text that, despite their discordant nature, become a single expression of many complex thoughts, aesthetically mimicking the non-visual material that served as the starting point.

On view in C'OD(e)R will be large scale colored pencil works on paper, among them Apophis, the artist's visualization of a prediction by NASA scientists that an asteroid will strike the Earth in the year 2036, and A Revolution, which is based on phrases used by a hypnotist. Also to be included are a selection of new sculptures and a floor drawing based on tracings of the counties with the highest and lowest incidences of poverty, education, living standards, and migration, according to the 2006 U.S. Census.

John J. O'Connor received a Master of Fine Arts and Master of Art History from Pratt Institute in 2000. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in that same year, and has received a New York Foundation for the Arts grant in painting, and the Pollock- Krasner Foundation grant. In 2008, O'Connor had a solo exhibition at Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn, titled "Flannel Tongue," and another at Martin Asbaek Projects (Copenhagen). Upcoming exhibitions include a three-person exhibition at The Lab (Dublin, Ireland), and a solo show in the spring at Pierogi (Brooklyn). The artist's work was recently reproduced in Esopus Magazine, Psychedelic - Optical and Visionary Art from the 1960's (MIT Press), and MOMA's catalogue of recently acquired works on paper. He recently presented his work inconversation with Fred Tomaselli at the New Museum, and his work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art , Whitney Museum of American Art, Weatherspoon Museum, Southern Methodist University, and New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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