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The Blackboard Variations: Celebrating the Performing Arts
Paintings by John A. O'connor
June 15 – September 2, 2015
In 2005, New York Times art critic William Zimmer wrote of O’Connor’s paintings: “The power of trompe l’oeil is that it presents its ephemera as lasting for eternity, while blackboards are erased leaving palimpsests. They can hold any kind of content even the absurd kind, as they implicitly state that they are records of the transient nature of thought and ideas.”
Since 1985, the Blackboard paintings have been the predominant form of O’Connor’s art. They represent the tracings of a life's journey forged from impressions, imagination, relationships, education, dreams, music, language, and various experiences of realities.
The News-Journal Center exhibition is comprised of paintings by O’Connor that explore music, dance, theatre and film. In contrast to the visual arts, which consist of objects that are intended to endure unchanged through time, the performing arts are transitory, alive in the moment and then gone. Even when recorded, they can be re-experienced only in a different format. O’Connor’s blackboards capture both the permanence of the image and the ephemeral nature of the performance.
“In The Blackboard Variations,”says O’Connor, “I invite the viewer to enter an environment of palimpsests: ghosts of gestures, the residue of images and words linking thoughts and concepts. Like music, theatre, dance and film, these blackboards ask the viewer to question both the concept of time, and the nature of reality itself.”