The paintings of John O'Brien convey a sense of mystery and romance seldom found in contemporary art. Exquisite craftsmanship and poetic ideals are combined with a modern awareness to create a unique style which O'Brien describes as "contemporary romantic realism". The settings, comfortable Victorian parlors, dramatic Moderne, Art Deco and other domestic settings, as well as neighborhood cafes and streets, reflect the mood and personality of their introspective female occupants. More pointedly, their orchestration actively engages the viewer on a visceral level encouraging them to ascribe their significance and meaning to each of the paintings.
O'Brien's style was initially inspired by the work of the late 19th century American painters, particularly the American Impressionists. O'Brien studied at the prestigious Art Students League in New York, an institute that nurtured and is associated with many of the great luminaries in American art including Frederick Church, Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O'Keefe, Roy Lichtenstein, and the American Impressionists William Merrit Chase and Thomas Dewing.
It is not surprising that O'Brien enjoyed successful one man shows at galleries in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Baltimore. His recent European debut was at the Phoenix Gallery in London where his work is now on permanent display.
Although O'Brien's paintings convey a sense of the past, the viewer is called upon to react in the present. O'Brien assesses our position and opts for a return to the higher aspirations of another age: the pursuit of craftsmanship and beauty. With his accessible style and poetic settings, O'Brien entreats the viewer to participate in his vision.
John P. O'Brien currently resides in Sonoma County, California with his wife and 2 daughters.