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Commons Room, Mabie House

“Staring into the Sun” Exhibit by Blake O’Brien at Kent Place Gallery

“Staring into the Sun” Exhibit by Blake O’Brien at Kent Place Gallery

The Kent Place Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of artworks by Blake O’Brien from Friday, September 15 through Friday, October 27, 2023. Guests from beyond the school community may view the show by appointment (see details below).

In his exhibition, “Staring into the Sun”, O’Brien shares a constellation of new works, rich, shaped paintings placed in eccentric relation to each other around the gallery’s walls. The works are dense, colorful, and supported by unique, hand-made stretcher frames, often in the shape of an ellipse. These oval paintings suggest human eyes, looking back at viewers, as well as art-historical forms, like the curved images in the apse of a cathedral. Other paintings contain inserted objects, like books, and in one case, a representation of a different painting.

Gallery Director Ken Weathersby states, “O’Brien’s artworks are literate and complex, drawing upon many cultural strands and references, with buried images of figures as diverse as Samuel Beckett and Britney Spears. At the same time, they speak the silent language of objects—the soulful, mute poetry of color, texture, pattern, shape, and human touch. I’m so happy to see this unique work in our gallery space and for students to spend time with it.”

O’Brien says of his art, “I am trying to make objects that try themselves to simply have purpose, just as we humans try every day to have purpose. They look back on history and wonder what happened.”

Blake O’Brien was born in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1993. He holds a BFA in Painting from the University of Southern Mississippi, and an MFA from Indiana University. He has been awarded an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a Chapter Career Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and a Mary Jane McIntire Endowed Fellowship at Indiana University. He was included in New American Paintings issue #141, and Artmaze Magazine issue #20. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.


For an appointment to view the exhibition, contact Gallery Director Ken Weathersby:  weathersbyk@kentplace.org

Kent Place Gallery is on the campus of Kent Place School, 42 Norwood Avenue, Summit, NJ