Daniel O’Brien, University of Wisconsin-Platteville lecturer of art, will have three of his paintings on display at the Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) Biennial Exhibit running from Saturday, June 26-Oct. 31. According to the DuMA Biennial website, the show was founded in 2003 and is a highly competitive, juried exhibition highlighting leading contemporary regional artists. The exhibit will feature 55 pieces of work by 27 artists. This is O’Brien’s second time being admitted to the show.
“It’s exciting to see Dan’s work on display again as part of this prestigious regional exhibition,” said Dr. Laura Anderson, professor and chair of the UW-Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts. “His professional engagement as an artist continues to strengthen UW-Platteville’s connection with the Tri-State area and inspires our own art students to work toward his level of artistic vision.”
O’Brien said he received an invitation from DuMA to submit his entries. He notes how it’s important for working artists to know what shows are available to get their work shown.
“It’s part of the profession to have your feelers out,” said O’Brien. “This is another opportunity to get me to do the work. It’s about the validation of doing what I do. The showing of it is really great, but it’s never been a goal of mine.”
As O’Brien prepares to present his paintings later this month, he wants attendees to interpret them through their lens. It’s one of the reasons why O’Brien did not give them titles. He wants the audience to take away the “act of becoming.”
“The paintings in the show are autobiographical, a journal of studio-practices moving from behind-the-scenes to center-stage,” said O’Brien. “Colored-paper for study, prepared surfaces on newspaper/magazine, tape, are finding their way to the canvas, acting as brushstrokes, lines and composition. The images do not communicate messages using content (subject matter) but rely on the simple re-introduction of the fundamentals of visual perception.”
Although O’Brien is grateful to have his paintings selected in the DuMA Biennial Exhibit, he said it’s beneficial for his students to see him go through the process. He said it allows his work to be visible to the community, but it also shows his students what he’s creating. He hopes to teach his students to keep going when submitting their own material to area art exhibits.
“Don’t let the world on the outside tell you how your art needs to work,” said O’Brien. “The validation you may be getting from the outside world should not deter you one way or another in what you do in the studio.”
As the region continues to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Brien encourages people to explore art. He said local galleries highlight the art being made in Platteville and the surrounding areas.
“World class museums are fabulous and have some of the best art in the world, but don’t forget the small places you can go and visit, to see what people down the street from you are doing,” he said. “We can educate ourselves, do more and branch out.”