Intimate Expansive: Rochester Art Center, Minnesota

The exhibition consists of an overview of Eamon O’Kane’s paintings, drawings and animations with a particular emphasis on the architectural influence of Frank Lloyd Wright in the Upper Midwest. O’Kane has created a new series of works specifically for this exhibition, including paintings of three Rochester Wright homes. 

O’Kane’s work contemplates architecture, nature and the relationship between the utopian ideals of clean Modernist architectural style and the bucolic natural environment in which many modernist gems reside. The manner in which O’Kane’s artwork functions is to employ the same principles that guide architecture: innovative uses of space, connectivity and engagement with society.


O’Kane will update his installation Froebel Studio: A History of Play by drawing out the connection with Frank Lloyd Wright. This work includes the foundational building blocks Froebel designed for igniting young minds, the same blocks and forms that influenced key Modernist architects. “The maple wood blocks . . . are in my fingers to this day,” said Frank Lloyd Wright, attesting to the influence of the Froebel blocks on his work. Wright desired to work with nature, specifically the Midwestern prairie, the same prairie that stretches out beyond the city limits of Rochester. O’Kane notices an inherent discord, a conflict that has still not been resolved in the relationship between man-made structures and the environment, renewing the discussion Wright began.


Main features of this exhibition will be: Three original paintings of Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Rochester; the Bulbulian House, the Thomas E. Keys House and the James MacBean House; a new series of paintings, drawings and animations based on Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin, where Frank Lloyd Wright grew up and later built many buildings including a large complex.  O’Kane will reinvigorate and update Froebel Studio: A History of Play by highlighting the connection between Froebel’s educational model with the architectural thinking of Frank Lloyd Wright. This installation includes the foundational building blocks Froebel designed to ignite young minds, the same types of blocks and forms that influenced key architects   Another related element in the exhibition will be the juxtaposition of paintings, drawings and animations based on the legacy of Irish designer and architect Eileen Gray and her house E-1027; specifically how both this house and Lloyd Wright´s Taliesin were the culmination of infamous affairs.


Artist Bio:
Eamon O’Kane (b. 1974) Eamon O’Kane’s artistic practice is consistently drawn to architecture and its contexts, seen in his Froebel based installation works that explore environments of play shown at RARE Gallery, New York City and Ben Maltz Gallery, Los Angeles, or the scaled model of Phillip Johnson’s iconic Glass House at California 101 Gallery, San Francisco. O’Kane has had over forty solo exhibitions in cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Dublin, Zurich, New York, L.A., London and Copenhagen and many group exhibitions. His awards and grants include a Fulbright Scholarship, a BSR Scholarship in Rome and a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant. His artwork is in numerous public and private collections worldwide including Deutsche Bank; Microsoft; Bank of Ireland Collection; Country Bank, New York; UNIBANK, Denmark; Aspen RE, London.  Irish born, O’Kane is based in Denmark and is Professor of Visual Art at Bergen Academy of the Art and Design, Norway.


Exhibition Curator: Sheila Dickinson


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