Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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O’BRIEN: Hello Olivia!
RAMOS: Hi Kasper
thank you for joining me
I am very excited to discuss your work
O’BRIEN: Aw, my pleasure! Thanks for reaching out!
RAMOS: I ran across your work through an article by Hyperallergic magazine
It was the piece Untitled (Looking)
Kasper Ray O'Brien
Untitled (Looking), 2016
Plaster, Synthetic Hair, False Eyelashes, Marble Dust, Glitter, Charcoal, Epoxy Dough, Quartz Crystal, White Gold Earring, Restraint Collar
8 X 24 X 11
RAMOS: can you tell me more about that series?
O’BRIEN: Yeah, definitely.. Basically all the work was kind of a way of confronting oppressive social pressures and coding that gets placed on the body..
More specifically I was interested in the how the body is achieved in a way and the performativity that is required.
RAMOS: your first description assumes there are forces behind this code, progenitors of pressures towards body specificities
the second taps into some mysterious design towards the way we are to use the body
and it is my assumption that you are questioning these
and reappropriating the body as something else
O’BRIEN: Yeah, exactly. It's all questioning and self staging.
I'm working from casts taken of my own body so by isolating and exaggerating these gestures I am able to also have a conversation about the body as opposed to having a conversation about my own body exclusively.
RAMOS: In some you attach new components like crystals - in others you leave out certain parts, like in Untitled (Sulk)
Kasper Ray O'Brien
Plaster, Boxer Shorts, Socks, Dickies Shorts
RAMOS: i guess my question is... is the conversation about the body or about the forces on the body?
and therefore forces on all bodies
O’BRIEN: I'd say both. The use of crystals was to imply these social and sexual pressures that come along with how we want to be seen. But then others like (sulk) are simply about the gestures and sexual implications.
I mean, my main point of reference was considering how we use dating/hookup apps, the images we use to introduce ourselves.
ok i didn't get that at all - but maybe because i've never used them
but it does make sense
the idea of recreating or generating a different "better" version of ourselves
a sexier version
smarter, or dumber, or who knows what is attractive these days
O’BRIEN: Totally! I find it interesting that using an isolated image of a very discreet six pack can get you laid despite the fact that the rest of the body is missing
RAMOS: lol right - it doesn't even have to be your six pack
RAMOS: so the forces are directing that which we find attractive
and distorting natural attraction
agreement in certain levels
it is all flesh
and the illusion of that which is "in" or accepted
O’BRIEN: Yeah, the illusion of sincerity and intention. My perspective on this isn't necessarily a negative one. I'm fully aware of what the intentions are on these apps its more about the performance of it that I'm interested in, what bearing a pair of Calvin Klein briefs can do for your inbox.
playing with signifiers of sexual specificity and figuring out how to complicate them or decode them.
RAMOS: for me it goes beyond the picture
especially when you try to become the picture
which can manifest in many ways
such as plastic surgery
or botox - which is beyond me how popular it is
or even shopping or having certain material things
O’BRIEN: lol- I live in the midwest so I find botox to be extremely glamorous..
RAMOS: i live in Miami Beach - getting botox is more common than having breakfast
O’BRIEN: Yeah, presentation is a bit complicated. My perspective on it is very deadpan however.
The materials were all pretty deliberate and tongue and cheek with the references. Very half-baked attempts at sexy.
RAMOS: sure - but not so much the missing body parts
the missing soul
O’BRIEN: Yes, I do not consider the fragmentation to be at all violent. I'm suggesting something a bit more internal and provoking the viewers to analyze their own personal interactions with the pieces
RAMOS: I don't see violence
i see a lack of life
just like i see it in social media
and in altered faces
it deviates from what is natural and makes it something else - whatever that is
O’BRIEN: Right, that grey area
thats the shade. Unapologetic, undefinable.
RAMOS: but also dishonest
the shade is a bit shady
and that's scary - unapologetically dishonest
O’BRIEN: A dead end maybe.. but I'm not trying to tell a story, I'm trying to provoke some sort of reaction.
Yes, of course
RAMOS: what would be your idea reaction?
O’BRIEN: I really do not have an ideal reaction. For instance, the piece "Untitled (Masc4Masc)", I am making a suggestion. I'm misplacing intentions and uses of a very specific object (shower grab bar) in order to imply a different scenario entirely. Playing with gym culture and the pageantry that goes into that.
But the read isn't my call.
Kasper Ray O'Brien
Untitled (Masc4Masc), 2016
Plaster, Grab Bar, Screws, Revlon Sheer Translucide Nail Enamel, Mirror
48 X 34 X 20
O’BRIEN: Push-up vanity or depending on your placement in regards to the mirror a sexual encounter.
RAMOS: that's funny - i don't go to gyms either
hearing people breath makes me gag
O’BRIEN: lol yeah, no, me neither. But when considering the male on ma gaze and these very scripted regimens and standards that go into cruising is what I am interested in fragmenting and questioning.