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Work Samples

Tongue Puddles

Tongue Puddles is an immersive installation of mixed media three dimensional hard and soft objects suggestive of jewelry, flora, playground equipment, road sings, and their amalgamations. At the forefront of each object is latch hook rug making, the kitschy craft tehnique I learned from my grandmother in my youth. Hand tied latch hook rugs are treated like paintings and skins of sculptures and are married with found objects, paper pulp, and ceramics to form an ensemble of unabashedly feminine and cheeky objects.

Tale of a Tendril

Tale of a Tendril is a sculptural object comprised of a hand tied latch hook rug, found cardboard, dried gourd from my garden, paper pulp, and ceramics. It is a component of my larger sculptural installation, Tongue Puddles. More information on that series of work an be found under the project titled by that name.

Slinky and the Abacus

Slinky and the Abacus is a large sculptural installation I created for Terrain Biennial in Iowa City this year. I was interested in presenting wavy, whimsical forms that referenced children's toys, playground equipment, and structures, in a public sphere to bring the community of Iowa City together in conversation. I made use of tubing I saved from the dumpster, surplus metal rod from another project, a garden hose from the 60s, glazed ceramics, and epoxy resin clay.

Macaroni Pond

Macaroni Pond is the first piece I created as resident artist at PLOP in London. It marks the beginning of a movement in my studio practice marked by combining my object making with rug making. Here I combine glossy, hard, hand built ceramic objects with my meticulously constructed, hand tied latch hook rug.

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About Danni

Baltimore City

Danni OBrien's picture
Danni O’Brien is a queer womyn interdisciplinary artist. Her practice is rooted in anti-capitalism, haphazard play, and queerness. Interested in the intersection of sculpture, painting, craft, and installation, O’Brien presents work ripe with material, texture, and connotation. Central to her practice is hand-tied latch hook rug making, a nostalgic and kitschy craft technique she learned in her youth exercised to build fuzzy, fibrous “paintings” of motifs from her adolescent girlhood. These rug skins... more

Tongue Puddles - School 33 Project Space

My words:

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:

http://www.bmoreart.com/2019/05/friday-gallery-roundup-school-33-edition...

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."

Slinky and the Abacus - Terrain Biennial

Hiding beneath a drawing of a twist and a wavy grid lie a slinky caught mid somersault and an impractical abacus. The quasi figurative sculptures evoke notions of childhood play and wonder by calling to mind toys that transcend both time and geography and can be spotted in doctor’s offices, play rooms, and schools. Interested in the discarded and neglected, I scavenged their skeletons from dumpsters and have since cut, twisted, morphed, and coat them in an impressionistic, rock-hard flesh punctuated with glossy-glazed ceramic appendages. Quirky and disarming, these two characters multiply and accentuate the landscape while performing as tokens of whimsy and curiosity.

Play Date - Hillyer Art Center

My words:

“Play Date” explores childhood landscapes through camp, craft, and humor. The immersive set of candy colored, fuzztastic objects echo forms of both playground equipment and O’Brien’s memory of her own awkward, pubescent body. Plush “paintings” and skins emerge from the nostalgic and kitschy process of latch hook rug making. This technique is employed as a vehicle to grapple with notions of femininity, domesticity, and craft, as well as for its titillating and tactile physical qualities.

Other people's words:

https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/arts/museums-galleries/blog/21043479...

John Anderson of Washington City Paper writes:

"In Play Date, the most outright striking of the three exhibitions, Baltimore-based artist Danni O’Brien overwhelms the senses with organic and colorful work. Using a process of latch hook rug-making—essentially, threading and knotting short fibers through a stiff matrix—her playful compositions seem sculptural and painterly. The composition is bold: They appear like enlarged doodles. Meanwhile, O’Brien’s high-key color palette, crossed with the physical texture of her materials—mostly wool and dollar store plastic rope—makes the works feel like Méret Oppenheim tripping on acid.

The individual works of Play Date support the exhibition’s overall titular theme, with titles like “Swing,” “Bare Foot,” and “Slumber Party.” Those titles aren’t terribly literal. Presumably, most come from Rorschach-like free-association. For instance, “Bare Foot” which is a fuzzy peach blob framing numerous dark star-like shapes, leans against a wall, on a peach-colored form that looks like a misshapen radiator. “Swing” gets closer to the literal: The cloud-like blob of pink and peach, bisected by a jagged line of gray, seems unlike the seat of a swing, but it does appear to be suspended on the wall by dangling yellow ropes. It’s like a swing in free-fall after its rider has jumped off. O’Brien’s most visibly illustrative work has perhaps the most abstract of titles; “a Bloop and a Blast” displays two ceramic hands connected by a single fuzzy arm on a green shelf, like a field. A latch hook cloud swirls above the disembodied hands, illustrating baseball gloves and bats, dancing in a field on a bright blue day.

The individual works of Play Date support the exhibition’s overall titular theme, with titles like “Swing,” “Bare Foot,” and “Slumber Party.” Those titles aren’t terribly literal. Presumably, most come from Rorschach-like free-association. For instance, “Bare Foot” which is a fuzzy peach blob framing numerous dark star-like shapes, leans against a wall, on a peach-colored form that looks like a misshapen radiator. “Swing” gets closer to the literal: The cloud-like blob of pink and peach, bisected by a jagged line of gray, seems unlike the seat of a swing, but it does appear to be suspended on the wall by dangling yellow ropes. It’s like a swing in free-fall after its rider has jumped off. O’Brien’s most visibly illustrative work has perhaps the most abstract of titles; “a Bloop and a Blast” displays two ceramic hands connected by a single fuzzy arm on a green shelf, like a field. A latch hook cloud swirls above the disembodied hands, illustrating baseball gloves and bats, dancing in a field on a bright blue day."

Fruit Stripe Garden Party - Arlington Arts Center

A life-size, undulating soft sculpture, Fruit Stripe, is juxtaposed alongside a traditionally lying hand tied rug, Garden Party, to expose the ways in which I challenge the traditional craft of hand tied latch hooking in material form, and concept. Each makes use of wool yarn and collected plastic rope stripped into shreds. In Fruit Stripe, I marry hard acrylic plexiglass turned into finger like beads with the soft protrusions of the yarn from the mesh substrate it is birthed from. The two objects create a landscape that encourages intimate exploration and investigation.

These works were curated by Blair Murphy into Over, Under, Forward, Back at Arlington Art Center. This group show revolved around contemporary fiber artists who both employ and challenge traditional notions of craft and fiber art.

Danni 's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.