Cynthia O’Brien has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the University of Colorado. Now living in Ottawa, she is an active member of the arts community and recognized through Creation Grants and the Mid-Career Artist Award from the Council of the Arts, Ottawa. After participating in residencies in France, Australia and the United States, she created the first Artist in Residence at Blink Gallery in Ottawa.
O’Brien works with clay because of the relationship that has been created over years of studio practice. Touch is all that is needed to communicate what action is to be done next. Clay being one of her oldest relationships, O’Brien is grounded in the studio when working on emotional subject matters such as death, memory loss, love and relationships.
O’Brien’s work can be found in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, City of Ottawa and private collections in Canada, France and Australia.
from down under
solo exhibition at General Fine Craft, Art & Design April 2-25, 2015
Join us for the opening and meet the artist on Saturday April 11 from 2-4pm
This work is based on an installation I created at the Tank Art Centre within the Flecker Botanical Gardens in Cairns, Australia. I spent a month being taught by nature to see a plant from all angles, lights and moods. My hands learned to move the clay to bring out the strength and delicacy of each plant.
Australia has a very tough policy that noting is brought in or taken from their fragile environment. I abided by these rules. What struck me later in February, as I sat in my cold Ottawa basement studio, is that I did collect a good deal of their plants through the physical memory in my hands. Working again on these plants gave me great joy and I could feel a great lightness and warmth of the lush foreign garden I learned so much from.
The flowers I created in Australia are gone, dissolved in water back to the natural state of clay. I cannot assume to replicate nature; the flowers I make now are a mix of reality and fiction. They all have many stories within the garden and in the minds of who view them. My story tells of beauty, sadness, adventure and new growth.
The flowers float around the space, grounded only by the weathered fence boards creating a new garden, a space for reflection. I invite the viewer to come and contemplate the simple beauty of the world around them.