Growing up I spent weeks in Colorado most summers with my parents and five siblings exploring the mountains and hiking trails. While there my love for the natural surroundings I was immersed in was awakened, and ever since I have relished each moment spending time outdoors. My respect for our environment runs deep and impressions of my time in Colorado stay with me to this day as do memories of my childhood dreams filled with intense colors, expansive skies, vast peaks and valleys.
Associations of dreams and memories from my distant past sometimes emerge in the art that I make and I recognize images or references of places I have spent time in. Over the years the evolution of my artistic practice, academic pursuits, and teaching artist activities all inform the art that I make in one way or another at any given time. Most of all I love sharing my art and interacting with fellow artists, friends, collectors, and students interested in the techniques I use, discoveries I have made, and what motivates me to make the work I create. In turn these interactions give me unique insights into how my art is seen and responded to. While my art making practice has its ebb and flow and sometimes a hurry up and wait scenario moving through daily life, I have learned that allowing the space and time to make it is essential.
Making art for me is often a response to a particular place and time spent in nature. It provides a way to make something tangible what I perceive as real or felt, that gives back to others in an expressive form, and shows what I am feeling and how I see things. Each work is a product of my imagination. As a young girl, my mother and I often made trips to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and I remember being amazed by the art of Impressionist and Abstract Expressionist artists. I expect spending time with those works continue to make an impact on the art that I make.
Artmaking can be a psychic wrestling match for me, a struggle it seems I purposely set up for myself perhaps to center and focus my restless self. I tense up every time I begin a project primarily I think because I want to create something completely new, new form that is its own entity. Restlessness can sometimes be detected in my art as flying objects, fragments and shards, textures and fissures. To begin, it may be a simple directive I give to myself such as using a new color combination or art material that aligns with an image I have conjured up in my mind’s eye. Temporarily suspended in my imagination, I use that image as a starting point and a springboard to see what comes next. Many of my works can be seen compositionally as a “bird’s eye view” and I like to think that the hours and hours of flying time cross-country with my father in his small plane, a single engine Cessna 185RR tail dragger, inspire those works.
Ginny O’Brien is a painter and mixed media artist. She is an arts educator with expertise in the field of arts in health and has practiced as a teaching artist in cultural arts venues and educational institutions. She exhibits her art in solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally, and for over a decade was education curator for the University at Buffalo Art Galleries developing and facilitating art making programs for diverse audiences focused on the permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. As education curator the artist developed and taught creative arts programs for medical students and those receiving services from various healthcare organizations. Ginny has taught courses in Fiber Arts and Design at Buffalo State College and Daemen College, and for UB developed and led an undergraduate course Clinical Humanities: The Intersection of Healthcare and the Visual Arts. She also worked as a visual arts consultant and workshop instructor for UB medical students enrolled in the school’s Center for Medical Humanities. Ginny is currently a Resident Artist for the Kathleen and Joseph Curatolo Pediatric Visual Arts Program, providing art activities for clinic patients receiving treatment at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Ginny holds a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art, Fibers, from Syracuse University and from Buffalo State College a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textile Design and Master of Arts with concentrations in Textile Design and Art Therapy. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Wichita State University and attended the Kansas City Art Institute studying painting, illustration, and graphic design. Her authored publications and creative works are found in art, education, and health-related journals, including SURFACE DESIGN JOURNAL, Western Humanities Review Literary Magazine, and Family Medicine: Journal for the Society of Teachers in Family Medicine.