Kat O'Neill - Works of beauty and provocation across different media that stare mortality and difficult facets of life in the face
Kat is a Co-Owner/Co-Director and Photographer/Mixed Media Artist at The White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY, which has been voted the Best Gallery in the Hamptons and the entire South Fork since opening in 2015.
Kat's art has been exhibited in numerous publications including The New York Times and Fine Arts Magazines and has been described as provocative, imaginative and unexpected. She was awarded Gold in Best of the Best East End Artists 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as The Award of Excellence three times by esteemed jorors including Karen Marks, Director of Manhattan’s Howard Greenberg Gallery, one of the world’s leading photography galleries.
Kat's art has been exhibited at numerous galleries. Private collections include NY, LA, Vegas, UK and Paris.
"As an artist with artistic roots in dramatic writing, Kat works to balance impact and personality in all her pieces, often incorporating words and humor. Her portfolios, printed on metal, feature graffiti, abstract art and mixed media that can be featured inside or outside in the elements redefining the concept of a sculpture garden. Drive up to Kat's house and the first thing you'll see is a 40x40 graffitied Frida Kahlo leaning against a tree."
"Kat O'Neill is equal parts artist, photographer and writer. Throw in an advertising background and a strong penchant for storytelling and then get ready to view her work. Keep an open mind as the images are not easy to anticipate; especially if expecting photography with graffiti as subject, the art she is most known for. O'Neill's new work are a colorful coupling of near abstraction with realism along with a strong dose of implied narration. In her new work, collaged elements of photographed color, text and extracted imagery combine to nearly cloak the underlying photograph of a tombstone, hand-selected for the spark that ignited imaginative wonderings of life, death and the things that happen along the way.
The series reflects the labor-intensiveness of Kat O'Neill's process. She is continually on the visual hunt and makes photographs for both active series and to capture images for later use as collaged elements in her layered, and sometimes mixed media works. At the White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton, where O'Neill is a new co-director and partner, her latest series is unveiled and reveals a mature integration of technique and artistic vision.
In her "Tombstone" series, O'Neill uses the final marker of a person's life as a springboard for imaginative exploration of life through color, texture and implied narration. Moving stronger into abstraction, the series adopts a bit of the sculptural. The art has a three-dimensional quality coaxed through the layering of metal onto her printed photography and through an installation that creates edges and a physicality springing the work beyond a flat presentation.
The current series is an evolution, of sorts, from her "Rock Portraits" series where the images accentual imaginary figures appearing naturally in the rock's formation, said O'Neill in a recent phone interview. A selection of these works are also on view at the White Room Gallery. The new tombstone series also integrates the strong narrative lines found in her layered photography and a series that features vintage album covers as muse, she said."
“Photographer Kat O'Neill took a different tack when making her images. After photographing the murals thoroughly, she collaged details of the street art or images of murals in their entries with images that channel the ways graffiti has made its way into pop culture such as clothing design and fashion advertisements.
In one work, Subway Style 1, O'Neill includes graffiti history through the collaging of tagged trains with long horizontal presentations of her photography. Other works are presented as broken circles with distinctive zig zags dividing the frameless work set on metal. Often accented with painted circles (to conjure the shape of spray can and sometimes images of spray cans themselves), the circular works accentuate the vivid colors, lines, patterns and writing O'Neill captured with her lens. Along with creating compositions that reverberate with color and pattern, narration has a strong presence in O'Neill's work.
She is a storyteller (produced playwright and fiction writer) and the photographs on view vibrate with implied stories or those waiting to happen. Some of her photo works borrow a page from text art through their bold titles: You Should Have Tried Harder requires no further explanation for the sultry look in the model's eyes as she gazes boldly back at the viewer. Her body is partially secreted by a horizontal bar filled with excerpts from street art, casting a fashion ad look to the work.”
Kat is also a produced and award-winning playwright and a contributing fiction writer to The East Hampton Star since 2006 with a series titled, "Uncle Jack's."
See more of Kat's work by visiting the website: www.katoneillgallery.com
Read Kat's interview in DESTIG Magazine: Interview