Through Lines and Morphosis: Tara O’Siochain & Parra O’Siochain

 June 1 – 24, 2017
First Friday Reception:  June 2nd from 6-9 pm

What happens when a family tradition is passed down and adapts to circumstances in the next generation? This two-person exhibition is the first time that Parra O’Siochain and Tara O’Siochain, father and daughter, are showing their work side by side. Though the proximity invites comparison, the works shown contrast two artists who have evolved over the past several decades in close relationship, sharing similar artistic foundations and values, yet with very different expressions of that legacy. 

In successive generations, both artists attended the San Francisco Art Institute. In the O’Siochain family, art was always a way of life, a way of moving through the world, and the creation of art objects a result of the work. At Mills College, Tara found the artist & instructor Jay deFeo, who became a significant influence and role model. But the art/life nexus remains a foundational legacy as passed down from her father. 

Tara is showing a selection of pieces from the series “Chorographies”. The word “chorography” originates in the writings of Ptolemy, and refers to the visual mapping of a location that takes into account temporal, historical, cultural and other characteristics of a place besides the physical geography. Tara is investigating how a painting is able to function on many levels: the abstract, symbolic, referential, imagined and physical. She considers these paintings as being poised between the landscape tradition and the nonobjective abstract. Character of light and a sense of location evoke imagined spaces, while the patina of time is retained within the arena of canvas or panel over a long working process. The work is as much chronologic as spatial—each painting is a performative space capturing and recording events, time, and energy. Simultaneously, the painting acknowledges its physicality as an object by pushing out of the picture plane, layering paint skins and accumulating material residue and drips around the edge. Above all, these are metaphorical landscapes that reveal and share otherwise private states of consciousness—a mirror of interior space made exterior and manifest in paint.  

Parra’s bronze sculpture in this show are a series of figures he calls “Self Portrait in Six Pieces” inspired by monumental figures of Auguste Rodin. His desire to work on such a monumental scale was hindered by practical matters which necessitated a more modest size. As a result he created a series of pieces conceived as scaled-up and abstracted body parts, cast in bronze. Also shown here are a selection from a series of winged figures inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus and his father Deadalus. 

The exhibit will be at GearBox Gallery, 770 West Grand Ave in Oakland from June 1-24, 2017, with a reception on Friday, June 2nd. 

image left: Parra O’Siochain, The Sculptor’s Hand right: Tara O’Siochain, Agate Beach at Dusk