Saturday, February 26

The Internet Does Not Know Everybody: Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor (via Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts)
Sometimes I feel overwhelmingly shut out from information on the internet. In those moments, it seems that  all information exists there just waiting to be found but by not yet having found it, I am lost.

Daniel O'Connor (via Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts)
Today, if artists are working hard at their careers one generally assumes to find them with the internet. That was the case when I discovered the painter Daniel O'Conner through Francis Vallejo's blog. And although, yes, O'Connor's work is reproduced in some capacity starting on that blog and subsequently scattered throughout the internet (slated to exist forever in that digital format), he still was really hard to find.

The idea that there could be awesome, hardworking painters toiling quietly and hidden (mostly) from the eyes of the internet and a large part of the art industry, is a romantic one. But one I like.

Waste 2009 Daniel O'Connor (via AEQAI)
Of course, the internet is just a larger community - and a painter's community starts first with local peers and other artists. But as far as I can glean, Daniel O'Connor is young. A Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art's alum and perhaps hailing from Cincinnati.  For awhile he was teaching at Northern Kentucky University and Manifest. He's had a few very serious, academic sounding shows, including another coming up this year at the Weston Art Gallery.

Daniel O'Connor (via Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts)
Daniel O'Connor's paintings are steeped in a rich figurative tradition. In Francis Vallejo's original post, he drops O'Connor's work in with other hard-studied greats - reminding me of the Atelier tradition.

But it is O'Connor's similarities to Antonio Lopez Garcia that make him stand out: his subject matter being modestly mundane, very real and yet very painterly. I like O'Connor's decisive and flat color planes. Sharp edges against softer ones.

It's because of O'Connor's paint handling we are able to look through such ordinary subject matter and enjoy the paint.

Having a difficult time investigating Daniel O'Connor's career just made me happier - as it shows great work exists even if others don't see it (and it reminds me that the internet is a community of communities, not an end in itself). Of course O'Connor's work is being seen, but not yet widely. And his work keeps in line with what great figurative images are all about sometimes even more than abstract ones: paint.

SEMI-RELATED: Interview with John Copeland, who talks a bit about paint "filling in the blanks".


  1. I know Dan O'Connor. He is indeed a very fine painter; I am glad you have made his work more visible. He lives a couple hours away and came to speak with my students about his art, and to do individual critiques of their work, both of which he did marvelously. He has work up in a major group in the Weston Gallery of the Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati.

    Your blog is great! I will visit again.


  2. Thanks Sheldon! I bet a crit with him would be great. I came very close to doing an MFA at Penn Academy. Seeing Dan's work makes me wish I had! By the way, love your charcoal/pastel drawings on your site... S