Tongue Puddles - School 33 Project Space
In tongue Puddles, I populate the Project Space at School 33 with an ensemble of hard and soft objects suggestive of jewelry, flora, playground equipment, and road sings to form a frolicsome and unabashedly feminine installation. Central to this installation is latch hook rug making, a kitschy and nostaligc craft technique I learned in my youth, with which I build fuzzy, fibrous "paintings" of abstracted motifs from my adolescent girlhood. I employ this process to grapple with notions of feminininty, domesticity, and craft, also exploring the material's redolent and tactile qualities. In conjuction with the latch hooked skins, I construct and situate twisitng, bulbous forms from found objects, wood, and cardboard, coated in paper pulp and suspended and adorned by glazed ceramic hardware and freckles. The resulting series of cheeky, off kilter objects forms an immersive installation that encourages touch and play.
Other people's words:
Rebeka Kirkman of Bmore Art writes:
"A large set of lungs suspended midair within this lilac room gave my heart a flutter as I glimpsed it walking up the stairs. The room glows against its surroundings like a screen or a sunny day filtering into a room through a skylight. Like everything else within Danni O’Brien’s installation in School 33’s project space, the lungs are not exactly what I read them as at first—there’s an almost-recognition of shape, scale, and color in that ovoid pair, blanketed by peach and pink hooked yarn, with tubes and artery-like wires spiraling around the edges. Elsewhere, O’Brien’s playful sculptures encourage my free association with kids’ drawings, Dr. Seuss, IKEA’s Småland, a Winnie the Pooh hooked rug project kit my Aunt Cindy gave me that I never finished as a child, and so on.
This surreal but intentional playground is silly and exciting, calling back to the freewheelin’ days of childhood arts and crafts, but with the artist’s more studious eye for pattern, form, and craftsmanship, and an underlying association with the domestic space. The experimental sculptures direct an interesting little dance of logic for a viewer; I’ll assert this peachy, lumpy structure leaning against a wall with a small hooked rug winding in and out of its intestine-like rungs, is a towel rack, rethought—but it’s also really not that, this creature-form with rosettes stuffed into its pipe-like ends.
The hand-wrought textures of these pieces make it seem like beneath the pulpy outer layer lies an armature of bone, capillaries, tissue, and tendons—they feel very much alive, though frozen mid-movement. In the middle of the room a green stalk, like a hat-rack or a headless sunflower whose arms reach out of their own volition, undirected by the sun, is poised on a pink platform whose misshapen three legs provide both necessary and vestigial structural support. A mirror mostly concealed by yogurt-colored yarn blobs and thin, dangly tongues allows my brain’s insistence that that pink platform is a radiator and we’re all just wandering here, inside of a baby brain’s interpretation of a bathroom.
These kinds of associative, childlike logical leaps mirror the artist’s search within colorful abstractions and familiar, domestic-crafty textures. A tall contraption of highlighter-yellow tubing and weightless nylon elements conjures for me some kind of home-exercise gym, of the kind a kid would dream up and, trusting bravely in their design, build out of whatever’s available."