Robyn O’Neil at the Frye

May I recommend between now and July 30th that you stop by the Frye Art Museum, and spend a quiet moment with Robyn O’Neil’s work…? I would particularly recommend you do this if you have any interest in drawing to see what the humble hand and a graphite pencil can do.

O’Neil’s work, depicting imaginary scenes of humanity is profound in that she allows the characters she has invented to be more than just evil or compassionate. As noted in other writing about her work, groups of “lumpy track-suited men” and their dogs depict cruelties on each other and nature. In other pieces they grieve for what they have done… or at least some of them. The stark use of only graphite on expansive white paper contrasting with the small barely decipherable characters do lend themselves a bit to Bruegel. For those of us who like to draw, and often find ourselves bobbing in the sea of conceptual trickery so apparent in today’s modern world, this exhibit is a wonderful relief.

The titles add a layer of seriousness to her work that cue you into the emotional intent of the author. The one I that impacted me the most, which I had to leave the room and come back again for a last look is titled: As my heart quiets and my body dies, take me gently through your troubled sky.

O’Neil lives in Houston,Texas. Houston’s Glasstire site has written a nice piece on her here.

In 2003 she received the Artadia Houston Award, and noted what she would do with her new found resources:

” I’ve been working in my tiny apartment driving myself crazy. I plan on getting a studio immediately. This is something that was simply not possible before I got this grant. I will furnish my studio with a table large enough for me to make my drawings. This grant will aid in the proper packing and shipping of my work which is very delicate.”

O’Neil’s work can regularly be seen at NYC’s Clementine Gallery and Chicago’s Bodybuilder and Sportsman Gallery.