Sculptor Steve Blackburn and painter Catherine O’Connell discuss their work, which will be showcased at LGTripp Gallery Oct. 7.
A performer works tirelessly on a routine so that on the day of the show their performance appears effortless to the audience. In the shoes of an artist, his or her performance is the presentation of their work at a gallery where they can be a part of the audience–the show takes place every First Friday.
Artists Steve Blackburn, sculptor, and Catherine O’ Connell, painter, will both be showing new, original work at LGTripp Gallery located 47-49 N. Second St., from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 7.
“First Fridays for an artist lets lots of people become exposed to different things that they probably wouldn’t see,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn returned to art school with the help of his wife’s support and motivation after a 25-year hiatus working in the family trade business that included welding. He earned his degree at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts in 2001.
Utilizing the skills he learned from working at the family business, he creates sculptures by gaining inspiration from almost anything.
“Looking at shapes, forms and even animals–when you see something interesting and build off of what I’ve seen that’s typically how I get inspired,” Blackburn said.
Looking at the shape of a room or personal experience can become a complex layer of colors or industrial sculpture.
“It may be cliché, but from my life that is what I know. This particular body of work emerged from thinking about childhood memories,” O’Connell said in an email. “Everywhere I go I’m absorbing–spaces, colors, shapes, patterns, feelings. I walk and bike around Baltimore a good deal, so my immediate surroundings are really filtering into my drawings and therefore the paintings. It becomes a visual journal of my interactions with the city heavily mixed with memory.”
O’Connell completed her undergraduate studies at Penn State and participated in Temple’s study abroad program in Rome. She lets her travels, education and personal experiences influence her art.
Studying abroad allowed her to be immersed into a different type of art and lifestyle.
“I think initially the impact was more technical, but over time the impact has become emotional,” O’Connell said.
Both artists aren’t hoping that the audience walks away with an explicit message from their art, but that they simply enjoy the exhibit and connect to it on some level.
“These pieces are kind of whimsical–kind of like my personality. I’m not doing it for the audience to find some type of meaning, but just because I found it appealing and hope they do, too,” Blackburn said.
“I have no direct or specific intentions when making my work. I hope that people are drawn into the work and want to spend some time with it, whether they like it or not,” O’Connell added. “Perhaps it sparks a memory for them, or maybe it becomes a visual plane to get lost in. my biggest hope is that there is something unexpected and it grants the audience some space to think or feel.”
Some other places to visit this First Friday:
Rodger LaPelle Galleries 122 N. Third St. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Muse Gallery 52 N. Second St. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Alexandra Olivier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.