William J. O’Brien


glazed ceramic
19 x 17 x 10 inches

Chicago-based William J. O’Brien works with painting, sculpture, drawing, and installation, and the artist makes much of his work through an intuitive process. His ceramic works are known for their punky approach to a material that is steeped in historical forms and conventions, but also associated with art-and-crafts. O’Brien has said, “I find the art world likes my ceramics when they are not well crafted, but ceramicists like my work when they are better crafted. I like the idea of being misunderstood or playing around with the roles of what the maker should look like or appear.” In this untitled work, O’Brien uses slabs and coils – two basic clay-building techniques – to make a dripping sculptural form that exists in an ambiguous space between monument, architecture, and abstract still life. Solo museum exhibitions of O’Brien’s work have been presented at a number of museums in the US, and his work is in the permanent collections of the Cleveland Clinic; Perez Art Museum, Miami; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.