In The Origin of The Work of Art Martin Heidegger asks the question: what is the source of a work of art? The artwork and the artist, he argues, exist in a dynamic where each appears to be a provider of the other. O’Connor presents her work in Sanctuary, her latest solo exhibition, as an example of this relationship. Although elements from the artist’s past works as well as aspects of the environment form part of her collective experience, in the studio the ‘real’ world recedes and the endless possibilities of shape, colour, tone and line present a look inward. This is an intuitive and personal approach: each work is painted individually and has a different journey - oftentimes the artwork is seen as a personality that the artist becomes acquainted with.
O’Connor explains: “Compositions frequently start with a shape I find pleasing and a colour I am drawn to. From there it evolves intuitively - my process of painting is one of discovery, as if I were to build and solve a puzzle at the same time. The formal aspects of visual language - the alchemy of colour and tone and the nature of shape and pattern - are variable elements that I attempt to bring together to form a precarious equilibrium: the sum of the parts equals the whole, in other words. At times the correlation of repetition and ‘considered randomness’ bring to mind rhythm and pattern. Other times the composition will move elsewhere - choices in the work arise from the work itself and I strive to be attuned and responsive to them.”
Cape town based painter Jo O’Connor (b.1972 Johannesburg) graduated Cum laude with a BA Honours in Fine Art from the University of Natal in 1994. She has presented eight solo shows to date and her work has been selected for inclusion in group exhibitions both locally and internationally.