William J. O'Brien
William J. O’Brien (b. 1975, Eastlake, Ohio) is an artist who currently lives and works in Chicago. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005). In his work, O’Brien explores the potential of a diverse range of media including paper, clay, textile, ceramic, steel, found objects and everyday materials. His artistic expression, which is grounded in drawing, reflects a broad range of cultural influences, including ethnography, psychedelia, pop, poetry, geometry and art history. His ceramic works suggesting people or pots leave a strongly rhythmical impression on the viewer. Through his multidisciplinary, improvisational practice, O’Brien physically confronts historical material and produces new ideas from existing classifications and systems. As he has stated, his work both keeps him alive and shows his audience all of his various facets. O’Brien has held solo exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2014), The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (2012) and the Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago (2011).
O’Brien has received awards from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (2011) and Artadia: The Fund for Art & Dialogue (2007). His work is included in the permanent collections of the Cleveland Clinic; Miami Art Museum; and The Art Institute of Chicago.