The exhibition, ‘Views from Lookout Mountain’ is an international triumph. Originally from Los Angeles, Pat O’Neill has experimented in most areas of art, such as sketching, photography, short films, and inkjet prints during his thirty-five year career. The artist has broken away from the stereotypical web which entangles all Hollywood artists. However, O’Neill has been brave enough to raise his paintbrush and be proud to stand out from the crowd. Is it not time the world experienced art at its very edge?
O’Neill’s work is unique and off-beat, giving us all an insight into how man-kind has affected our surroundings. It sometimes shocks the viewer when they come face-to-face with outcomes of evolution.
Each masterpiece of O’Neill’s work can be seen in assorted ways, yet each is often drawn to the same conclusion: industrial and revolutionary problems will intertwine with natural creations to create a monumentous effect on the present world.
Through spending long lengths of time on his work whilst scratching film tapes, Pat has successfully shared his aspects of civilisation with others and caused them to think the impossible is yet to be overcome. Often expressing raw and diverse ideas, he forces the viewers to believe the uncanny truth which is illuminated through his work: modernisation of the world is conflicting with the strong features of our landscape.
A particularly diverse and thought-provoking piece, which I especially admired, was BUMP CITY. This 16mm film, acts as a time capsule to life in the 1960’s. O’Neill has effectively captured this era on screen, whilst expressing his ideas successfully. Having been created in 1964, it is one of his earlier pieces of work.
Pat O’Neill himself expressed at the opening of his exhibition, “Everything can be shown through layers, and if you peel them away you get back to the basics of life and the environment.”
Review by LiveWire Critic, Georgina Brown
On November 18th Pat O’Neill’s exhibition opened at the Cornerhouse. If there is one word to describe the work of Pat O’Neill it would be ‘genius’. Each piece of work is unique, inspiring and meaningful and something which is clear while viewing his work is his love of layers. To find the true meaning of each piece of Pat O’Neill’s work you must look deeper than the surface, peel away the layers, each one bringing new meaning.
The curator of the exhibition, Julie Lazar, arranged the work in chronological order so that as you walk through Pat O’Neill’s exhibition you can unquestionably see his art progress through his career. The exhibition begins with pencil drawings. A selection of beautifully symmetrical and layered drawings reminiscent of maps are displayed in what almost looks like a specimen case for the viewer to dissect and pull apart with their eyes. The drawings then progress into photographs. Here is truly where Pat O’Neill’s inspirations become apparent; cars, nature, people dancing, art forms in an art form.
In these photos he has linked machinery with nature in unlikely but beautiful ways. The shape of the cars mirrors those of bodies, the car needs oil from nature to run, machinery relies on nature.
Julie Lazar commented on a selection of photographs that Pat O’Neill has taken, “Pat O’Neill is not saying that industrialisation is more important but that nature and machinery can work together.”
This is also appropriate for Pat O’Neill himself, as he embraces technology to modernise his art but combines this with his original pieces and methods that have stayed with him from the beginning of his career.
We can see the change from observing the scratches he first made on a strip of film to watching it on a plasma screen as a moving image to bring the film negative to life, resembling dancing electricity. Finally, at the end of the exhibition, are Pat O’Neill’s greatest technological achievements, his interactive films.
It is inspiring to see an artist, such as Pat O’Neill, adapting his work with technology yet still keeping a firm grip on his artistic and cultural roots. The exhibition as a whole really was like walking through Pat O’Neill’s biography, and it was fascinating.
Review by LiveWire Critic, Pippa Brown
Pat O’Neill: Views from Lookout Mountain is showing at Cornerhouse until Jan 15 2006
ADMISSION IS FREE