KAT O’CONNOR IN NEW HAVEN
The idea for Kat O’Connor’s current series of “Water: Pools/Figures” oil paintings came to her at a hotel in Marfa, Texas. “We were sitting around at night, watching bats diving into the pool for drinks in the middle of the desert,” she explained. “Somehow, the reflection of figures around and in the pool became more than the pool.”
The inspiration of that evening became more than a memory for O’Connor, as it led to what has become an ongoing collection of water-inspired works. One of them, “Epic,” served as Artscope’s cover for our July/August 2016 issue, where it was showcased in conjunction with its showing in the Copley Society of Art’s “Ship to Shore” exhibition that summer. It caught the eye of Reynolds Fine Art’s owner, Robert Reynolds, who after reviewing O’Connor’s portfolio on her website, contacted her about showing her work in his New Haven gallery.
“Kat O’Connor’s work immediately conjures the German music phrase ‘Zwischenraum,’ ‘The space between rooms’ or notes in music,” Reynolds said. “Kat’s work perfectly utilizes this mysteriously rich pause between notes. Between two environments. The quiet space. Glimpses of the outside reality illuminate from above, the everyday meeting the subtle soundless depths we can only imagine below. Weightless and clear, the work toys with our own memories of floating on that 2-dimensional plane where water and air meet.”
The creation of each of her works, mainly oil on panel, begins in a pool, where she uses a Canon underwater camera, usually utilizing the assistance of a close friend or family member as her subject. “I ask them to jump in the pool and hold their breath,” she explained. During the shooting process, O’Connor can’t see what’s being photographed. “I take a burst of shots, usually 10 or 20 in a row, and see what I like,” she said. She’s not aiming for a clear image; to the contrary.