John Joseph O’Brien - January 24th, 1932 - August 23rd, 2012
This body of work is based on the death of John Joseph O’Brien, my father.
Starting with a rectangular box - a coffin - a container for the person - for the soul - for the individual within society. This box is all hard straight surfaces with corners and no room to move. Out of this box the physical body is changing, pushing, moving into the soil. This movement adds nourishment to the soil as my father added to our family. Adding his life - his roots - to the family tree of the past and his memory into the growing future. The opening in the box, a split, releases his spirit to a place he believed without question and watches over all of us as we make our way in the world.
The use of natural clay is important - the viewer can focus on the form - the work is to be intimate - intended to be held and caressed. There are many places for fingers to move around the piece and become familiar. I want the viewer to explore the tactile subtleties of the work, as they might explore another person.