For more than 30 years, surrealist painter Brian O’Connor has created phantasmal scenes of illusion and mystery. Fictional characters act out sociopolitical narratives of the somewhat absurd. With every brush stroke as a metaphor, his paintings become a language of emotion, memory, and ideas, rendering figures within a range of realism; from classical, to caricature, to cartoon. “O’Connor is a gifted realist painter whose increasingly dark vision continues to expand as he adds to his narrative of millennial observations…What O’Connor does in his work is pose questions about our complicity with the forces of degradation that seem to increasingly govern our fate and compromise the quality of play and poetry of our children,” said Diane Armitage of THE Magazine.
O’Connor’s works are a kind of theater where the acts are played out simultaneously, the sequencing drawn out not through the medium, but through the imagination, memory and experiences of the viewer. There are elements of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and vagary. “The paintings are about people living everyday lives, dramatic, cowardly, vicious, graceful, funny, stoic, whiney, tragic, dignified, inconsequential and heroic lives, sometimes all at once,” says O’Connor about his creations.
Receiving his BFA from the University of New Mexico, O’Connor went on to exhibit his paintings in galleries and museums nationally. He has taught at the University of New Mexico and put on various workshops and lectures for schools, universities, and art institutions.