Kate O'Brien creates wonderfully textured images with some of the best understanding of colour that I've seen in a long time. To me, her work is split into two sides, each with their own colour palette. I'm tempted to say good and evil, but the good is often tempered with a touch of evil and the bad is tempered with a touch of good.
On her site bio, it states "Projects are sometimes years in the making while Kate scours online auctions, op-shops, thrift stores and liquidators looking for just the right piece to complete the vision."
It feels as if her work is moving into a new phase and it was a great privilege to have been able to put my questions to her at this time.
To begin, I'm noticing that your work seems to be branching out in two directions. On one hand, there is a hemisphere of more muted, earthy colours with a more painterly style and earnest tone. On the flip side there's a bright, candy-coloured playground of mischief. Are you aware of this? If so, is there a definite reasoning behind it or it a kind of counterbalance to your moods? Or is it simply a new direction in which you are going?
I’m completely aware of it. I feel like over the past couple of months I am finally finding my feet. Prior to my recent work I felt a little bit directionless…sure, I had lots of ideas, in fact that’s one thing I think I’ll always have plenty of, but there didn’t seem to be any continuity to the work. It could be described as show-ponying. Just showing off what I could do, rather than having a distinct vision to what I was doing.
I have said before that I wanted my work to show the highs and lows of the human existence, but in some ways I feel that I didn’t achieve that at all. So, I guess now I’m just sticking to the lows for a bit. That’s the life I know best.