United States of America
A Purse full of Butter
Danni O’Brien is an artist and art educator living and working just outside Washington D.C. She balances her passion for art education and advocacy with an active studio practice.
Her work relies heavily on the appropriation, decontextualization, and subversion of pre-existing objects and realities. Concocted sculptures and collages, which offer insight into her obsession with collecting and compiling, intersect at the materialization of concepts and survive as a series of unsettling yet cheeky objects. Birthed from operations of displacement, the artist offers us a vision disruptive of contemporary society and the enunciations of collective identity, especially those that concern gender and sexuality.
Her works, which often take the forms of flowers, sea flora and fauna, leakages, and vaginas, explore themes of identity and the boundaries of erotica and play, innocence and perversion. They are dually polymorphic and polysexual and fed by a decidedly homegrown, handmade aesthetic. Each contrived form employs a careful mash-up of found objects and the artist made, grappling with notions of invention and authenticity.
During her time at ´ace, O’Brien will deconstruct and rework previously created paintings as a way to revisit old imagery and create a fresh life for it in an alternate context, deeply influenced by the scenery of Buenos Aires. Her paintings will be cut up and joined with new drawings and scavenged images from the streets of the city in aim to blur the lines of past and present and draw conclusions about commonalities of space and landscape. The pieces will be seemingly haphazard, paying homage to childish ways of constructing and making, and contain playful organizations of iconography and color.
1992 | Falls Church, Virginia, USA.
2015 | BFA in Sculpture, Magna Cum Laude, at the James Madison University, Virginia, USA.
2015–2017 | Art Educator at the Fairfax Country Public Schools, Virginia, USA.
2019 | Satellite Art Fair, Paradice Palase. NY, USA.
2018 |Pocket Object, Zero Zero, Los Angeles, USA.
2017 | Wild Cuts, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, USA.
2016 | Dada Centennial, International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction, New Mexico, USA.
2015 | Kin Aesthetic, Spitzer Art Center, Harrisonburg, USA.
2020 | Baltimore Clay Works, Baltimore, USA.
2019 | Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY, USA.
2018 | PLOP, London, UK.
2017 | Art Farm, Marquette, Nebraska, USA.
2019 | Wassaic Project, Educational Scholarship.
2016 | Second Place, New Waves, Juror: Jan Tumlr, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, USA.
2015 | Alan Tschudi Outstanding Graduating Student of School of Art, Design, and Art History, USA.
2014 | Art History Forum Award, Best Research Paper: Lesbian Subjectivity in the Weimar Republic, USA.
A Purse full of Butter
Danni O’Brien opened the doors of The Tower, her studio at ´ace house, to share the playful project she carried out during her Exploration Residency—a work that invites us to perceive it not only through vision because of its colors, but also through touch because of its textures.
Danni is an artist who appropriates materials commonly used in school by children and, with the same freedom as them, uses them for the creation of her sculptures.
´aceNITE, Exhibitions, Open Studio
Artists in Dialog
On Wednesday, July 19th, 2017, several international projects were presented at the house of Fundación´ace with the presence of an interesting variety of artists, colleagues and their friends and families.
The artists in residence of the period, Kelsey Miller, Tracey Bullington and Danielle O’Brien (all from the USA) showed the results of their residency periods. Kelsey presented her project The Forecast in the Transversal Space, Tracey shared her work in process at The Workshop and Danielle showed her artwork, an in-between sculpture, assemblage and painting, at La Torre, where she worked during her residency.
The Central Hall and the Dialogue Space hosted the 9th session of the International Self-Portraits Project, led by Alicia Candiani and Catherine Bebout from Montclair State University. A project that involved artists from different countries and contexts and produced work reflecting on the issue of self-representation.
In the Políglota Room, El Pliego was exhibited, an international project organized by the Grupo dx5 of the University of Vigo in Pontevedra, Spain in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy and Arts of the University of Quebec in Canada, to which ´ace was invited to take part. In dialogue with this international project, the video Fold by Marcela Casals (Argentina/USA) was shown. Cazals was a resident artist of ´ace in 2014 and this time her video was selected from the open call of the Seedbed Program.
What do they say about us?
´ace in a word
Which word would you choose to describe ´ace
Vibrant!. All of the people I interacted with and worked alongside- Alicia, Amanda, Ceci, and Ale, as well as fellow residents, Kelsey and Tracey, are all vibrant personalities who are expressive, passionate, and guiding. The location of ´ace is also vibrant. Working in El Taller during my exploration residency, I had a beautiful path up a spindly, spiral staircase and was confronted with freshly painted murals by the fabulous previous resident, Jenny Ustick, as I entered my studio. The skies and city scape I breathed in from up there were incredibly vibrant and inspiring. And of course, Buenos Aires as a city is so full of vibrant people, architecture, food, art, landscapes, and even trash.
In which ways have you been influenced?
One of the lasting impressions I have from ´ace is feeling a very strong sense of community and comradery. Everyone at the studio was supportive of one another. It made me feel like I was a part of a team, which was something I was really craving at that time.
In which ways did the residency contribute in your artistic development?
The exploration residency at ´ace helped me technically, materially, and conceptually. Technically, I was able to use the presses to adhere my collages together and create strange, accidental embossments in my multilayered work. The hours of the studio encouraged me to focus in on making work throughout the day but then to leave it behind at the end of the evening and run around and explore the city! These explorations lead to new findings in materials, concepts, and the title of my final exhibition. El taller, the space on top of the spiral staircase was a special place to make a new body of work. I felt both connected to the residents in the main printing space as well as felt enough privacy and a sense of separation and autonomous space to feel confident in taking risks and experimenting.
TIPS FOR NEXT RESIDENTS
-Gather from the space around you – imagery, sounds, materials, smells, and allow the new landscape to transform your senses.
-Work hard in the studio during the day, but spend the evenings when its closed exploring Buenos Aires!
-Entrust in the wonderful folks at ´ace, they are supportive and strong people who can answers your questions in the studio, give you meaningful feedback, and help show you the city.