Living Paintings of the Rooms of Life by Dorothy O’Connor

Tornado by Dorothy O'Connor

Tornado 2011 by Dorothy O’Connor



“My ongoing series “Scenes” centers around transforming spaces, often a room, into fantastical landscapes which frequently utilize elements of nature and the natural world to tell a story. Each concept, shaped predominantly by events in my life, creates a sort of conceptual autobiography. Building these life-sized installations also allows me to literally live inside my own imagination, if only for a short time and satisfies the need to create a more aesthetically pleasing reality. Each project takes months to complete, allowing me to fully immerse myself in its meticulous details. I enjoy creating many of the components in each set by hand: crocheting the ocean, crafting hundreds of paper birds, weaving a ceiling of roots from jute, etc. Learning a new skill each time I build a new scene helps to keep the process fresh. This work began as a photography project. The scenes are captured on film and a photograph remains the lasting imprint. Opening the scenes as  tableau vivants, however, installations which feature a live model, allows an audience to experience them as I do but to add their own interpretations and ideas, thus making the story a shared experience.”

Dorothy O’Connor – Scenes



I have a particular penchant for a certain style of photography – Tableau Vivant –  which I will never have the patience, eye for detail, talent, or determination to create (or recreate) myself – is that perhaps the fine line which defines fine art from regular art which I can perhaps do myself or you can do for yourself?

That sounds a bit something or other, but I can excuse it sounding that way. I have evolved excuse-making into an art form of a kind, not just for myself but for others too (need an excuse – contact me). Feel free to test me on this claim, but if you do be prepared to give up (cede victory to me, haha!) after I start and never give up on my peculiar kind of art form.

I grew up surrounded by art and photography, by artists and photographers, and others of artistic tendencies. I’ve met Andy Warhol and Horst P. Horst in informal settings. Andy Warhol had a camera glued around his neck (that’s all I remember as I was too young to appreciate the momentous meeting) and Horst P. Horst didn’t (but when he took his camera out of its hiding place – WOW! – and he was absolutely lovely!).

My father, an artist of paint (I fixed that typo but it originally said ‘pain’ instead of ‘paint’), palette knife, and canvas, often used photography in his work.

It was because of him that I had the opportunity to meet people like Warhol and Horst (even if I didn’t appreciate it at the time, and may have grumbled about it – although Horst – lovely!).

And when he, my father, died recently, the one thing which I wanted from his estate and of which I asked those managing it was for his collection of photographs taken over all the years that I knew him, and before that – I was told that he had destroyed all of his photographs when de-cluttering his belongings, his space, his room, shortly before he passed away.


Room 2009 by Dorothy O'ConnorRoom 2009 by Dorothy O’Conner


So this series of tabelau vivant by Dorothy O’Connor struck me not just on an aesthetic level but also on a visceral one. The ultimate gift of fine art – it kicks you in the gut while uplifting your senses.

Clutter, and the clutter of rooms, spaces, turned into a beautiful art for the eye.

There is no doubt in my mind that Dorothy O’Connor is a fine artist of photography and life.


Underneath by Dorothy O'ConnorUnderneath 2010 by Dorothy O’Connor



For more about this series – Scenes – and Dorothy O’Connor, please visit her website.

Enjoy, and thank you!

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