Brian O'Neill - Smith and Vallee Gallery

Brian O’Neill

Brian O’Neill finds great satisfaction working with basic raw materials that can be formed into objects that have shape and balance – a rhythm in their proportion, scale and surface texture. Some of these universal rhythms of nature are embodied in his pieces, evoking the simple strengths that reside in stone and the natural landscape. Most of his forms are vessels. While not always “functional” in the traditional sense, each piece has an interior and an exterior. The visible form and the more hidden space inside is an anthropomorphic relationship O’Neill enjoys exploring. Each piece comes into existence and develops a personality as it evolves – much like all of us. “My inspirations for shapes are everywhere, the beautiful curve of an oar handle, aboriginal masks, product and architectural design, the world of fashion. Well-balanced form in any medium informs my work.” O’Neill holds a BA in Fine Art from Western Washington University and carried a dual major in ceramics and visual communications. While his heart was wedded to clay, O’Neill pursued a career in graphic design, which has taken him to Chicago, Los Angeles and eventually Seattle. While living in a two-dimensional world of typography, photography, color, paper and now the digital realm, O’Neill always kept a hand in the clay and maintained a ceramic studio wherever he lived. He came to see that design principles translate across all platforms and dimensions and began thinking he might one day shift to the 3D world of clay. That day came in 2001. He left his urban ways, sold his house in Seattle and moved to rural Whatcom County, WA making the transition to a life in clay. His work is represented nationally by galleries and museums, and is included in numerous permanent collections. He also exhibits his work at a handful of regional art shows. Most recently Brian had the privilege of participating in the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, D.C.

Exhibits with Brian O’Neill

October 4-27, 2019

Painting with hair picks, meat forks and chopsticks, Joules impresses a sensory memory of natural landscapes. O’Neill presents bold and beautiful textures, laid upon unexpected ceramic form.