Cynthia O’Brien: This is the path I took/ Season Opener 2013

Cynthia O’Brien: This is the path I took.

In the Garden#1

In the Garden#1

In the Garden #1   2012  Without colour the work is presented for the viewer to see beyond the colours and scents of a garden and observe it for beauty of structure, texture and line.  These flowers were collected in O’Brien’s mind and touch memory, specimens of her time away in a lush foreign place.

Friday, May 31st   6-9 Opening Reception

Saturday, June 1st  12-5

Sunday, June 2nd  12-5

Artist’s  Statement

This is the path I took is an exhibition based on recreating from memory the work produced during the Tanks Artist in Residency program in Cairns, Queensland, Australia in November 2013.  The path created is a grouping of specimens formed from clay, nailed to the wall of the gallery.

Special Event:Telemann 12 fantasias for flute solo performed by Gertrude Letourneau during the opening of the exhibition.



O’Brien’s work is based on the emotions of attraction, sex, love and heartbreak.  She portrays this through abstracted sculptural plant forms.  Intimate details and the use of colour or lack of, attract the viewer leading to a tactile experience and a sense of protection.  As all things have an end, through accident or purpose, a sculptural piece made of clay will eventually break leaving the viewer heartbroken.

Cynthia is currently part of  Chinatown Remixed: The triptych of sculptures was still very much a work in progress when O’Brien and I met up over coffee at Umi Café. It was Sunday morning, that first perfect spring weekend this year – early enough that Somerset’s regular denizens had for the most part yet to rise, lending an uncharacteristic serenity and sense of renewal to Chinatown. O’Brien had started with three small clay buildings that were beginning to morph at that point. A tree appeared to be coming out of them – perhaps meant to evoke a family tree, or the cycle of life. The third sculpture was almost entirely tree, with the base of the building still there.

How it will evolve by May 18? How will the shrines fit in to the already busy Wah Shing shelves? Will they stand out? Add to an existing sense of clutter? These are all questions that Cynthia O’Brien left me with. If, like me, you are dying to get the answers, make sure to stop in Wah Shing Store during Remixed. You won’t be disappointed. And while you’re there, why not pick up something new and exotic to throw into the pan!

For more of this article see:

Postscript. In an uncanny coincidence, my own mother died unexpectedly in her sleep while I was still writing this post. I had seen my mom in Montreal just two days before, on the Saturday, the day before I met up with Cynthia O’Brien. O’Brien’s shrines have since taken on a meaning for me like never before.

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