The Tioga Arts Council is committed to showcasing emerging and established artists in and around Tioga County. The exhibitions change on a monthly basis. TAC welcomes submissions from artists on a continuous basis. We are interested in all contemporary media including drawing, mixed media, painting, printmaking, photography, experimental media, sculpture, quilting, etc.
Review: Kristina O’Connor's The Visual Cosmos of This & That: a three-year existential therapy crisis
By Ronnie Vuolo
Kristina O’Connor, an Ithaca-based artist with a Masters in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design has a keen eye for the poignant, the obvious, the absurd - and she shares it abundantly in her latest exhibit. The Visual Cosmos of This & That features ink drawings on paper inspired by her effort to “understand, cope, and engage with the average American human experience.” It consists of three series created between 2015-2018: Excess & Accessibility, Influence & Affect, and Unreliable & Impermanent.
Each piece in the series depicts a concept or a story - depending on the depth of your imagination. It is immediately obvious that every image teems with symbols - making viewing almost a ‘”Where’s Waldo” experience as you seek them out. Containing a whimsical element, they are neither cutesy nor one-dimensional. There is a spiritual and cosmic edge here. There are messages, comments on modern life and the foibles of mankind. They make you think. They make you squint and look closer. She satires, she sympathizes, she shares a good laugh, she takes us on a journey, and she encourages us to not take life too seriously. A self-proclaimed minimalist, her simplicity of line and use of open white space adds to the impact. The rare use of color in Hold Tight, with anatomical heart clutched to the bosom of a figure cocooned within a cloak of flowing locks, heightens its intense emotion. As in all O’Connor’s work, its story is understood through the viewer’s own personal experience. One laughs, one cries, one wonders - it is all good.
There are ghosts in her drawings too, by her own estimation. Ghosts of the hands whose work left their imprint on her: Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Ralph Steadman, Egon Schiele, Walt Disney, Hieronymus Bosch, and even Mark Rothko - in the simplicity of his expression rather than the style of his work.
Her reply, when asked what she hopes to achieve through her art, was, “Empathy and inner peace - for others and myself - even if it’s just a way to pass the time or have a laugh, I count that as an achievement.” She has surpassed that goal.