On Sept. 14, McDaniel College’s Art & Art History department hosted its first speaker of the year, Bart O’Reilly.
O’Reilly is an Irish immigrant who now resides in Maryland. His work consists mainly of paintings, but he has a significant collection of video works as well. Fascinated by nature, much of O’Reilly’s work revolves around trees, landscape, and the world around us. He even goes as far as seeing how the forces of nature can physically affect his work.
For example, he has painted outdoors in the winter in order to experiment with how the extreme cold can freeze his paint and therefore affect the overall look of his paintings.
Additionally, O’Reilly is, as he says, “interested in the ordinary.” One of the works that he displayed at his talk was a video of him exploring an old shed at night. Perhaps the most prominent part of this work was his use of a flashlight in his exploration. He continuously altered the focus of the flashlight in order to create different shadows and forms to play with the way that our eye perceives light and shape.
O’Reilly has also dabbled in poetry. His poems were raw in the ways that they addressed their topics, using vibrant and even forceful language to express meaning. O’Reilly often linked certain poems to specific pieces of art, which allowed for a fuller and broader understanding of the concept being portrayed.
O’Reilly also incorporated music into some of his pieces. One of his pieces showed a section of window panes that had been video edited to fade in and out of different filters. As the filters changed, the music also changed in order to fit the mood of each one, providing a unique transmedia experience. O’Reilly’s work was both eye-catching and thought provoking, and his presentation was calm and inviting, making it an enjoyable experience for all who attended.