Paul O’Connor’s Heavy Metal


Known for his award winning, critically acclaimed book, Taos Portraits, Paul O’Connor is also an artist who works with metal.

Better known in northern New Mexico as a photographer, O’Connor has been making portraits of Taos artists for nearly 30 years, many of them can be seen in his seminal volume, Taos Portraits. (See link below). O’Connor has been a generous and frequent contributor to taoStyle, since the blog’s infancy.

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For the past  two decades O’Connor has also been making “relief” sculptures from metals including bronze and aluminum, sometimes polished to a high gloss or left outdoors, assisted in their patina by the elements.

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Different kinds of wood are often incorporated in these sculptures that create a three dimensional illusion in their seemingly simplistic, yet masterful forms. All are sturdily fabricated, backed by layers of marine-grade plywood. A “black hole” in the center of each provides a kind of meditative focus, giving the eye a place to rest.

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O’Connor worked as a studio assistant for Ronald Davis in the 1990s, and was initially influenced by Davis’ perspective sculptures, but his work has evolved to the point of being recognizably and distinctively his alone. His sensibility is informed not only by the world of art and artists he lives in, but also by nature; the elements that corrode and rust metal, wood, bone and stone, developing a veneer over time that man’s hand can never exactly replicate but Paul somehow does with colors that conjure not only the bones, stones and random rocks of the High Desert, but also the bold sunsets across Hondo Mesa where he lives and works. 

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“About three years ago, I just decided to pick two shapes, a square and a hexagon,” he explains, and I’m going to work with these until I feel like I’ve exhausted the possibilities.”

Minimal and quietly elegant, O’Connor’s pieces are a testament to the power of pure, geometric form.

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Sculpture by Paul O’Connor at the Bareiss Gallery (By appointment, August 28-October 2, 2016 call 575-779-6737)

Opening: Saturday, August 27, 4 to 7 p.m.

For more information on the artist, please visit his site linked below this post

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All images c/o Paul O’Connor