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Portfolio

Portfolio

The twenty sets of images below are offered as a concise summary of major works done since 2005. For more in-depth discussions of projects and research please follow the projects and research tabs under the “Art” menu above.
Thanks,
Brian


1

Avalanche Dynamics, 2019

For the 2019 session of Forrest Island Project, an artist residency program in Mammoth Lakes, I co-curated a collaboration with the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL) administered by UCSB titled Avalanche Dynamics—derived from snow science that offers a metaphor for creative breakthroughs. My ongoing research and contributions to the project run along three tracks: (i) digital composite images of snow taken through filters; (ii) attempts to produce an ice lens to act as a temporary sculpture, observational instrument and camera; and (iii)sculptures based on Rudolf Luneburg’s description of a spherical gradient index lens (more here).

(i) Composite Photographs

Sun Cups Hummingbird Lake July 9, 4:01 pm, 2019
cropped digital photo composite (red/green/blue filtration),  (1 & 2), 18 x 18 in.

Images like those above are composites of separate images shot through red, green and blue filters (below). They are built by recomposing the images pixel-by-pixel as they would be “seen” by the digital camera’s sensor (left).

(ii) Ice Lens Experiments:

(iii) Lens Sculptures

The Practical Mathematician Went Fishing (Abstact Snowman) fot R. K. Luneburg in Two Parts, plaster, brass, hardware, pine pedestals, shims and stones, 26 x 11 x 6 and 11 x 11 x 17 in.


2

OO Guide to Sobriety, 2019
by Rakish Light

To collaborate as a couple, we (Deirdre O’Dwyer and Brian O’Connell) built a box camera with two lenses, of different focal lengths. These lens are located side by side on the front of the box, and the back is fitted with a removeable panel for the insertion of 11 x 14 inch negative lithography film. There is no viewfinder; a piece of dark velvet placed over the lenses serves as a shutter, to be removed for the several seconds, approximately, required for an exposure. We travelled with our camera to 12 locations in the American West (Yosemite; Joshua Tree; Grand Canyon; MacArthur Park; Sequoia/Kings Canyon; San Joaquin Valley; Zuma Beach; Death Valley; Mono Lake; Mammoth Lakes; Bristlecone Forrest; Vagabond Inn, Ventura) for our upcoming photo book the OO Guide to Sobriety, repeating a day-long routine: drive, stop, place the camera in the direction of the scenic shot, take the exposure, drive on; in the evening, find a motel room, set up photochemistry in the bathroom, black out the room, develop the day’s negatives. The images that resulted show two round views side by side.


3

Rakish Light Collaborations, 2016 – 2019

Founded in 2016 together with Deirdre O’Dwyer, Rakish Light (www.rakishlight.com), is an experimental press that produces and publishes offset print projects and collaborations among artists, writers, and thinkers using refurbished small scale commercial presses.

A Letter to My Father and My Unborn Son
by Aram Saroyan and Gailyn Saroyan, 2018

94 pages, illustrated with color offset cover, hand-bound

What did the generation that came of age during the sixties do for an encore? Many of the answers seemed to have slipped below the media’s plumb line. A Letter to My Father and My Unborn Son, a journal by Aram Saroyan with art by Gailyn Saroyan, takes us to the American bicentennial year, 1976, as the young poet and artist await the arrival of their third child in Bolinas, a small coastal village in rural Northern California. Here is the day-to-day journey of a young family—at once intimate, surprising, and funny.

Vacation
by J. Parker Valentine, 2017

5 folded sheets, 3 color offset

Vacation is a graphic tale: a mystery involving a man, a woman, monkeys, fish, three colors, kisses, and, somewhere in the middle, an unfortunate end.

Watchers and Winks, with Annie Lapin, 2016

Edition of 20 unique portfolios of 79 double-sided printed
sheets in conjunction with “Annie Lapin: Watchers and Winks,” at Honor Fraser, Los Angeles, November 5–December 16, 2016.


4

Rakish Light Projects and Events

Real Print, 2017
Real Print was a collaborative effort between Rakish Light and 52 artists to make posters in the lead up to the 2017 presidential inauguration and protest. More here.

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, 2017
128 uncut French folded pages (256 cut pages) on 80 lb Mohawk smooth super white, perfect bound between 110 lb cover over-printed with 64 individually colored plate, 5-1/8 x 7-5/8 inches, edition of 100.

Journal, 2016

Rakish Light Journal is a series of unique abstract journal-size books made by over-printing and binding the remaining make-ready sheets from the first year of the press. They roughly document the sequence of that year’s production. 

Journal #9
Click here to view all 100 unique volumes.

— / —

Make Readies , 2017
with Xtra Magazine


5

Collectors and Observers, 2016 – 2019
A series of ongoing sculptural objects and proposals.


6

PALOMAR, 2016 
Laure Genillard Gallery, London,

The title PALOMAR is taken from Italo Calvino’s 1983 novel Mr. Palomar, which is made up of 27 short chapters that correspond to a distribution of 3 interests: visual; anthropological; and more speculative experience “concerning the cosmos, time, and the relationship between the self and the world.” There were three groups of work in the show—a film, sculptures, and photograms. 

The World Looks at the World, 2016 85 cast glass panels, plaster Dimensions variable 

PALOMAR, 2015 (installation view) 16mm color film print from color negative printed from black and white original; Looper built by the artist; aluminum, brass and laser-cut Plexi-glass, 12 mins. 


7

PALOMAR, 2015

16mm color positive film printed from color-timed internegative printed from black and white original positive film. Shot Oct. 23, 1014 at Mt Wilson Observatory, 1:33–3:45 pm., trt: 12min

PALOMAR is a 16mm film approximately twelve minutes long, the film is a colored document of a partial solar eclipse viewable from Southern California on October 23 2014 and arose from an ongoing interest in the function of reflection and shadow in the production of an image and color. I filmed the eclipse using an adapted amateur telescope from Mount Wilson near LA.

Working with a Hollywood color timer, I made a color negative from the black and white original. Each shot was colored according to the formal structure laid out in the index of Italo Calvino’s novel Mr. Palomar, encoding the themes of the novel with red, green, and blue light. There are 33 shots in the film, one for each chapter plus seven shots at the end to represent the index.

View a digital transfer of PALOMAR:


8

Made in L.A., 2014
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles 
(Installation Views)

For the Hammer Museum’s 2014 Made in L.A., I built a modular outdoor structure of 4’x 8’ panels supporting a roof of four brise soleil, or “sun breaks.” I used gum-bichromate (a 19th-century photosensitive watercolor process) to make large photograms on paper of the shadows cast by the sun on the walls of the structure’s “rooms.” 

Installed in the Hammer’s galleries, the prints were arranged on walls according to their original positions within the apparatus, describing sideviews of the original architecture. Balsawood brise soleil hung from the ceiling to just below chest height, joined and counterbalanced by slabs of colored glass—dalle de verre. 

foreground:
Brise Soleil, Made in L.A. (foreground) Balsawood, cast glass, hardware, 96 x 204 x 4 inches. 

background:
After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (I, Pyrrole Red, 9:01 AM) 
After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (II, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, 12:20 PM) 
After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (III, Quinacridone Violet/Permanent Magenta, 3:19 PM) 

After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (IV, Blue, 10:55 AM)
After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (V, Neutral Tint, 1:26 PM) 
After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (VI, Brilliant Pink, 9:26 AM) 
After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (VII, Greenish Yellow, 2:56 PM) 
After Before Present/April 28–29, 2014/–64 BP (VIII, Winsor Orange, 3:02PM)


9

Lights & Walls, 6757 Santa Monica Blvd, July 13th – August 17th, 2013, 2013. 
Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles,

For this show that included cement “pintings” (concrete reliefs that looked like brutalist architecture gone wrong), and gum-bichromate prints of projections of spiral light bulbs, the title described the terms and conditions of the exhibition. Further architectural modifications reinforced these terms: 

Lights & Walls, 6757 Santa Monica Blvd, July 13th– August 17th, 2013, 2013 Installation views Architectural and lighting modifications, cast-cement panels, gum bichromate prints in soldered-lead-and-glass frames 

Untitled #14, 2013 Rapid-Set Cement and balsawood 44 x 34 x ±5 inches


10

Openings to the water I stopped searched for cracks
and the wanting parts I fixed A boat
sold by the daughter of its builder, a fisherman,
to a shipwright who left it there, 2012 

Concrete, steel, wooden fishing boat remnants Approximately 8 x 7 x 27 feet Protocinema, Istanbul, Turkey September 14–October 20, 2012 

In the summer of 2012, I used a dilapidated 1960s fishing boat found near Istanbul’s Yenikapi district as a mold to produce a concrete boat. The outside shows a generalized form, while the internal surface reveals a detailed impression of the original boat’s exterior (lower left) both of which are the result of generations of local boat-builders adaptations to specific challenges— meteorological, economic, and aesthetic.


11

Details: Meeting, PS1 July 2010, 2010
Cyanotype on ClearPrint vellum 72 x 54 inches

Part of a series of cyanotype photograms exposed directly on the surface of the benches in James Turrell’s installation Meeting (1986) at MoMA_PS1, Queens, NY. 


12

NuMu Projection, 2011
Projection-mapped video animation
The New Museum, New York

This animation projected a series of color photograms onto the facade of the New Museum in New York. To produce the photograms I first constructed a lead and glass model of the museum. I used a color photo enlarger to project images of the model directly onto photo paper. By manipulating the filters and through multiple exposures I produced a series of color shifts which were then animated as digital video projected onto the facade of the building.


13

Harry and Pete, 2011
a collaboration with Todd Bourret
DUMBO Arts Center, New York,

In Harry and Pete, painter Todd Bourret and I came together under three familiar constraints—space, time, and budget— to produce a body of collaborative work that explores the nature of dialog, debate, support, and influence. The title of the show refers to the relationship between sculptor Harry Holtzman and painter Piet Mondrian.

above: Harry and Pete, 2011
Installation view: concrete sculpture and cyanotype on canvas.

left: Harry Valencia, 2011 Concrete, wood, spray paint 91½ x 39½ x 50 inches Installation view of Harry and Pete, Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY, 2011 


14

The Illusion of Plans, 2010
Dorsch Gallery, Miami 

Foreground: (Not) Architecture: Partial Walls for Dorsch Gallery Rammed earth walls 3 x 37 x 12 feet total 

Background: The Illusion of Plans 1, 2, & 3 Stretched indigo-dyed cheesecloth 21 x 21 inches each 

Indigofera Tincoria Indigo plant on 36 x 12 x 12 inch pedestal 

The Illusion of Plans examined natural, economic, and political histories in South Florida through the indigo plant. Indigo, once cultivated as a dye, grows like a weed in Florida. The exhibition was the result of expeditions to locate indigo plants; encounters with local botanists and horticultural bureaucracies; and the unearthing of indigo’s horrific labor and slave history. Workbench-height earthen partition walls followed lines on the floor of the gallery, a former lamp factory.


15

(Not) Architecture for the Kunsthalle, PS1, 2010
Rammed earth (Miracle-Gro Potting Mix and Portland Cement)
Part of MOMA PS1’s Greater New York 2010
144 x 15.5 x 15.5 inches each 

The curators of Greater New York (2010) assigned to me an internal room at MoMA PS1, constructed by concealing two sets of columns within its walls. After considering PS1’s history as a public school turned exhibition space, I focused on the architectural changes made to alter its institutional status—the removal and subsequent construction of internal walls. I constructed two earth columns of the same proportions as those hidden in the walls. The dirt used was Miracle-Gro potting mix, purchased at a local hardware store. These columns did not reach the ceiling—they ended about two inches short. The logic of site-specific, art historically referenced architectural intervention was inverted so that the non-supporting columns were in fact nothing more, and nothing less, than sculptures.


16

Sculpture Seminar: Concrete Boatbuilding:
Its Technique and Its Future, 2009

The University of Trash, Sculpture Center, Queens, New York

For this public seminar, held over the course of three consecutive Sundays in conjunction with the Sculpture Center’s The University of Trash, participants made their own small-scale concrete tugboats and barges culminating in the launch of a concrete flotilla in Newtown Creek, adjacent to the Sculpture Center. 


17

The Concrete Boat Project, 2009
Malibu, California

Ferrocement (beach sand, white Portland cement, and steel)
approx.: 13 x 5 x 5 feet 

Over two weeks in 2009, I constructed a concrete boat on a beach near Los Angeles using a sand form. The process of constructing a boat out of sand was described in the 1971 edition of The Whole Earth Catalog. The shape is derived from the Guppy 13, produced in Chatsworth, California, in the early 1970s by Melen Marine Ltd., about 25 miles from the beach. Bas Jan Ader used a Guppy 13 in his last piece, In Search of the Miraculous (1975). My boat was launched on April 19th at the Marina Del Rey Municipal Boat Launch. It returned safely to port after a day cruising the marina.


18

Case 111.1-8, 2007
Glass, copper, lead, wood
Total dimensions: 90 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 38 inches

Installed as part of A for Alibi
De Appel, Amsterdam, 2007 

This shelf of 84 interpenetrating glass boxes is based solely on the dimensions of every object on Shelf 111 in the Utrecht University Museum’s collection of scientific instruments. The dimension of each piece was the only information made available by the museum, which has never published a complete catalogue or images of its holdings.


19

House Beautiful, 2007
Adamski Gallery, Berlin

Installation view
Foreground: House Beautiful, 2007 Brass and glass 45 x 38 x 30 inches
Background: photograms made using House Beautiful 

Composition No. 1; Composition with Red and Black, 2007 Color photogram (filter yellow) 40 x 30 inches


20

FLASHBULBS: The Central Library Project, 2005 Leuven, Belgium,
Vinyl lettering on existing lighting fixtures. 

Flashbulbs is a semipermanent installation at the Central Library of the University of Leuven. The University’s medieval library was destroyed in the First World War and its replacement, a World War I memorial, was leveled in the Second World War. The present-day library acts as memorial and monument to both. I surveyed library visitors about memories of significant events (called “flashbulb memories” by some psychologists). The results were affixed to the 132 exposed fluorescent tubes of the existing fixtures in the main reading room. As the bulbs burn out they are replaced by the university; as of October 2013 there were no inscriptions remaining.