Kat O'Brien



Kat O'Brien

My art practice spans over 40 years. During the first 30, I developed an active practice as a multidisciplinary installation artist combined with university teaching and research in ceramic sculpture, photography and printmaking. During this period, I received grants from the United States National Endowment for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts, Quebec, Canada. In addition to international solo and group exhibitions during this period, I participated in the U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, undertook commissions for outdoor work, and was granted several international and North American artist residencies.

About 9 years ago, my career focus changed significantly. After decades of actively working to meet art producing and research deadlines, I re-directed my priorities toward allowing new artwork to unfold at a slower pace integrated within a structure of daily meditative practice and dharma study. This methodology integrates daily sitting and moving meditation with ceramic studio time as well as periodic interactions with diverse groups of artists and engagement with collaborative practices.

Currently, I’m working with precise and meticulously constructed templates to shape octagonal ceramic forms that function as support ground beneath quickly and spontaneously produced textural top surfaces. The initial illusion of octagonal solidity yields to an observed inter-connectedness of multiple forms, each with open thresholds that invite closer inspection, thus revealing the inherent emptiness within. Sometimes that empty space reverberates with quiet light or sound. In the octagon center is a 9th space, often an organic experience arising from the work's initial impulse, an insight gained during its formation, or an ongoing changing movement.

Recently, the octagons have begun to coalesce into a broader formation, perhaps a village of villages, an expanding environment reaching out for more interaction and engagement than has occurred in recent years. Is there perhaps a "leaping clear" moment forming... a "leaping clear of abundance and lack" lurking in this art/dharma practice? Allowing this possibility to unfold is my open intention now.