My ongoing series “Scenes” centers around transforming spaces, often a room, into fantastical landscapes — which frequently utilize elements of the natural world to tell a story. Each concept, shaped predominantly by events in my life and inspired by nature and the desire for it, creates a sort of conceptual autobiography. Building these life-sized installations also allows me to live inside my own imagination, if only for a short time. It satisfies the need to create a more aesthetically pleasing reality. Each project takes months to complete, allowing me to fully immerse myself in 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. 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 with an 8×10 camera on film and a photograph remains the lasting imprint. Opening the scenes as a 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 graduated with degrees in Literature and Studio Arts. Her photographs and installations feature thoughtfully composed and hand-crafted scenes which combine elements of still-life, portraiture, landscape and performance to produce unique and evocative works of art. She has received grants from Possible Futures, FLUX and the Forward Arts Foundation to present her installations as public art. The lasting element of her installations, her photographs, have been exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S. In 2013, she was artist in residence at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville where she built and presented her latest installation, “Shelter.” Her most recent projects were interactive sculptural pieces for Art on the Beltline 2014 & 2015. Ms. O’Connor’s work is part of the permanent collections at MOCA GA, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, the Center for Fine Art Photography and is included in many private collections.