Photography  —  Backlist BACK
Klauss Kertess ed.

Twin Palms Publishers, 2002
186 pages
Black & white photographic collages.
ISBN: 1931885133

Meditations on space, art, war, death and religion emerge from the context of the erotic in John O'Reilly's intensely personal photographic assemblies. Montage and its formal and symbolic evolution has proved the richest medium for personal allegory and self-discovery. O'Reilly's working methods of cutting and pasting mirror the energy inherent in deconstructing and reconstructing the psyche. The medium facilitates a merging of iconic Others into the Self. Twenty-seven years of part-time employment as an art therapist allowed O'Reilly the freedom to use his deepest obsessions, fetishes, and fears as source material for his tiny assemblies of magic. The results are compelling psychodramas played out through images of Christ, Eakins, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Hitler, Picasso, and of course O'Reilly himself. O'Reilly insinuates himself into miniature created worlds as creator, actor, model, and interloper in whole, partial, and veiled autobiography. His signiture photographic montages, which average between three by two inches to twelve by eleven inches, merge a miscellany of studio objects with hybrid characters appopriated from art history, cultural history, gay publications, science, and world history. As O'Reilly puts it, 'always looking for something in the history of art to balance the erotica of the real'. Bolder in the safety of art than in the unpredictability of reality, he immerses himself in work filled with desire, anguish, and solace.


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