Transformation Through Displacement
Oil Paintings & Mixed Media Drawings by Emily O'Brien

UNC Asheville senior Emily O'Brien's exhibit, "Transformation Through Displacement," is based on O'Brien's experiences while studying abroad in France. Using visual imagery as a representation of spoken language, the works express how perceptions can be altered by experiences with the unfamiliar.

This exhibit will be on display December 1 - 17.

A closing reception will be held December 17, 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

News Release

"Le Coureur"
Emily O'Brien, 2010




Artist Statement

Through a series of paintings and drawings based on my personal experience of living and studying abroad in France, I aim to express the displacement of a foreigner in a new country. The focus of the series is twofold: first, to recreate the sensation of patchy understanding in grappling with a foreign tongue, using visual imagery as a metaphor for spoken language. A spectrum of resolution develops on the canvas, representing three levels of full, partial, and distorted comprehension. In this way the viewer encounters the same people and places as I did, and must now too grasp to understand with their eyes instead of their ears. The second aim of the series is to communicate sentiments such as alienation and dislocation, which accompany the experience of being a foreigner. A visual motif of passersby develops throughout the series to express the experience of being surrounded by a crowd and yet feeling disconnected from them.

Ultimately I hope that the viewer will take on the guise of an outsider, submerged in a destabilizing yet exhilarating new environment, fumbling to find their way. Artists such as R. B. Kitaj, Kent Williams, and Robert Birmelin inform my work in order to endow the viewer with a heightened sense of awareness that was the product of my experiences abroad. In recreating my experience of displacement through visual means, I seek to illuminate how the way we perceive the world can be drastically changed when we step into unfamiliarity.





Updated 1 December 2010. Comments to the Library Web Team.

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