John J. O'Connor (artist)

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John Jerome O’Connor
Born 1972
Westfield, Massachusetts, United States
Nationality American
Education Westfield State College, Westfield, MA
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
Known for Painting, Drawing, Installation

John Jerome O’Connor (born 1972) is an American artist known for his large-scale, labor-intensive, abstract works on paper. In his work, O'Connor transforms information through idiosyncratic processes, creating equally idiosyncratic abstract shapes, forms, and patterns. He is represented by Pierogi gallery New York.

Early work[edit]

Influenced by the art and music of John Cage while studying at Pratt Institute, O'Connor created abstractions based on chance operations. In 1998 he made a series of small drawings by dipping jazz brushes in ink before playing them directly on paper. Each drawing represented a specific beat per minute played for a specific duration. In addition, in the late 1990s O'Connor begin to explore systematic approaches to art making through drawing. These works were diagrammatic and process based. Though the compositions were simpler in these and other experimental works made in this period, O'Connor was laying the basic groundwork for his future methods.

Recent work[edit]

Typically, O'Connor's new works are large-scale drawings on paper made with colored pencil, paint pens and graphite. He has also been exploring sculpture and collage. In addition, he is collaborating with an artificial intelligence expert to create a multi-media work with the chatbot Cleverbot. O'Connor's large-scale drawings often contain abstract forms made from multi-colored fields of text and patterns which are partly derived from combining simple logical processes (such as alphabet codes or...) and partly from intuitive reactions, described as his "trademark hallucinatory style".[1] These processes often force unlikely connections between seemingly disparate data often with humorous results. Information used in his work include conversations the artist has had with Cleverbot, charts on male pattern baldness, chess game patterns, sunspot fluctuations, temperature prediction and error, the prophesies of Nostradomus, census reports, etc. Patterns that emerge from linking these disparate data are often a structural conduit for his unique logic and aesthetic.

O'Connor's most recent series of 26 interconnected drawings are large, pictogram-like works that depict, through text and graphic images, the lifespan of a working class male as he encountered myriad obstacles, both real and imagined. These works reference Hollywood filmmaking, consumer drug effects, video game spaces, social class, popular music, dream imagery, theories of time perception, literary fiction, advertisement logos, etc. In a recent series of photographic collages, O'Connor fused close up NASA images of sunspots onto the surface of his face, creating, disturbing composite portraits that investigated the relationship between celestial patterns and those of the human being on Earth. Overall, many of O'Connor's recent works explore the moment when an individual's internal intentions and desires, are affected or opposed by a powerful external force.


  1. ^ Nell McClister (August 20, 2010). "John J. O'Connor". Artforum. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 

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