John David O'Brien

John David O'BrienArtist’s Statement

I make art objects, but I am most interested in making an art world. So individually, I create artwork. I write and I also work in a larger community creating exhibition spaces, curatorial projects and public art.

My personal creative evolution is grounded in abstraction. This is rooted in my experience of life as part of a military family in constant travel, regularly enchanted and disoriented by the new worlds enveloping me. I begin with the objects, images and environments around me; but transform them formally and materially. Real world elements are my sources; misunderstandings, memory and projections are my operative processes. I believe the driving force for my work originally was a need to decipher the things around me and to put them into a context where their normal meaning was acknowledged but other more idiosyncratic, personal levels of meanings were established. Over time, I have explored how a multiplicity of viewpoints and mutable end functions co-exist in the visual arts.

To these same ends, I have also set up a number of traditional and non-traditional exhibition formats and spaces, formulated curatorial projects that showcase a broader art world. Working in public art and through my published writings are the other ways of extending my practice: I come out of the studio and work to make art into a vital and significant activity in the world at large and Los Angeles in particular.



Select Solo Exhibitions from 2008-2011

Cerritos College Art Gallery, Cerritos, Calif.

Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, Calif.
Kristi Engle Gallery, Los Angeles

Kristi Engle Gallery, Los Angeles

Select Group Exhibitions from 2008-2011

Laws of Attraction, Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles

To Live and Draw in L.A., Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, Calif.

Judith Page, Philippa Blair, John O’Brien Jancar/McCorkle Projects, Los Angeles

Boson Exotic, Rupert Ravens Contemporary, Newark, N.J.

Select Community-based Artwork

Rotating Public Art Exhibition, Arts & Culture Commission, Pasadena, Calif.
AxS Fire and Water Festival, Pasadena Arts Council, Pasadena, Calif.

sbX Omnitrans, Department of Cultural Affairs, San Bernardino, Calif.

Fellowships and Awards

Faculty Research Grant, Cal State University Northridge

Probationary Faculty Support Grant, CSUN

Faculty Research Grant, Art Center College of Design


M.F.A., 1989
University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Artist in residence, Istituto Nazionale per La Grafica, Rome, Italy

AA.BB, 1982
Fine Arts, Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, Rome, Italy