A Sydney-based New York artist will show for the first time a series of paintings about guns in a sensual feminine way.
Brenda O'Connor has given up a stressful Wall St job to paint full-time in Sydney and her exhibition featuring guns and women opens at the Arthouse Hotel in Sydney on December 8. O'Connor's weapons and flowers series explores the expressions of masculinity and femininity in common objects.
''The guns, which sexually connote strong masculine tones, are painted in very feminine colours: in pinks, peaches and pastel tones. The flowers on the other hand, which symbolise women, are done in very masculine colours: in cool greens and blues.'' O'Connor said today.
''As a Canadian who was living in New York when I started this series, I quickly became fascinated with Americans' relationship and glorification of guns. My way to articulate this fascination has been to paint them in a very stylised and accessible way.''
There is a common thread between all her works which explore conceptions of beauty. Her female series explore the seemingly narrow definition of what we believe is beautiful.
''What I have gravitated to most in my adopted home in Sydney has been the water. There is an incomparable serenity and at the same time, a complexity about the ocean and the Australian coastline. There is a very strong beach culture here, something that I obviously am not used to having grown up in Canada, and it was something that interested me.
''Water is represented thematically in my Underwater Women. I think it can be interpreted to be an abstract representation of some of my favourite NSW beaches. Here, we have nude women, on a bold, solid, sand-coloured background. The ripples and waves of the water are reflected on her body, creating complex and intricate patterns. These reflections however, are offset by the calm, yet stark coloured background, representing the beach. ''
Canadian-born O'Connor's rich, bold works are straight forward and anti-intellectual by intention, and are strongly influenced by fashion, pop culture, and advertising images. Her talent is immense. Participating in latest big GenArt auction was a major hurdle in O'Connor's blossoming career.
Emerging artists from across the US were hand-picked by a committee. GenArt is also such a highly respected organisation for emerging art, that being associated with it helped her become established in the New York art scene.
O'Connor has arrived on the Australian art scene with an Ivy league MBA, and for the last five years, was working on Wall Street in New York. She moved to Sydney earlier this year and started pursuing her painting full time at her Paddington studio.
O'Connor's first exhibition runs at the Arthouse from Dec 9 to 26 and the second exhibition at the blank-space gallery in Surry Hills from January 1 to 15.