about

 

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and now live in Cape Town.

My work has often been a result of process-based or site-specific explorations. Formally, elements of randomness and repetition have featured significantly as a reflection of nature and industry: to illustrate both the uncertainty and the routine that mark our lives.

Thematically, my work often touches on questions around ‘human nature’: our habits and the way we live, personal and public space, our uniqueness and conversely our similarities.

More recent explorations have examined the concept of ‘urban camouflage’, particularly with the use of abstract painting. These paintings utilise urban environments as a palette for colours, patterns and shapes that recall cellular, architectural and man-made structures. This constructed ‘camouflage’ serves as a social commentary on humans and what has become, for many, our ‘natural’ environment. Perhaps urban camouflage is concerned with negotiating the violence of life, the fight to survive or be ‘successful’. Conversely, perhaps it speaks of the desire to hide oneself from the discord of urban life, as if protecting oneself from danger in the wild.

The work is created with thin layers of acrylic paint or watercolours, as it is my wish to retain the integrity of shape and colour. This veil of translucency belies the art of disguise – it affords a deeper understanding of the surface and what lies beneath. It is through the transparent intersection of colour and shape that we view a process of metamorphosis. It is significant to me that the essence of this work, which is about concealment, is in fact delivered in terms that are revealing.

 

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© Jo O’Connor