Mark O’Connell Art Portfolio

My process of visual art exploration starts with a feeling or an inspiration, I then search for a place…geographically, historically and emotionally…that will mirror those feelings. Architecture, epochal temporal context and cultural manifestations unique to that era and time serve as doppelgangers for psychological explorations as I plumb my subconscious. From these explorations a monograph emerges that can include painting, collage, block prints, drawings, poetry and text. Upon completion, the series is gathered together and exhibited partially in a gallery,Read more

“Items: Is Fashion Modern?” at the MOMA

Visited the Items: Is Fashion Modern Exhibition at MOMA: “Items: Is Fashion Modern? explores the present, past—and sometimes the future—of 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries—and continue to hold currency today. Among them are pieces as well-known and transformative as the Levi’s 501s, the Breton shirt, and the Little Black Dress, and as ancient and culturally charged as the sari, the pearl necklace, the kippah,Read more

“Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium” at the Whitney

Had the great pleasure to view the superb exhibition of the work of Hélio Oiticica, at the Whitney: “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is the first full-scale U.S. retrospective in two decades of the Brazilian artist’s work. One of the most original artists of the twentieth century, Oiticica (1937—1980) made art that awakens us to our bodies, our senses, our feelings about being in the world: art that challenges us to assume a more active role. Beginning with geometric investigations inRead more

Rich Relations: The Evolution and Uneasy Symbiosis of Art and Fashion

I will be presenting my paper: “Rich Relations: The Evolution and Uneasy Symbiosis of Art and Fashion” at the Nouveau Reach: Past Present and Future of Luxury Conference on Friday May 12. I am delighted to be included in such an interesting event: http://nouveaureach.ca/ (Abstract) The new Fondation Louis Vuitton (LV) is the latest incarnation of the corporate/art mega-partnership, highlighting the increasingly uncomfortable relationship between art and fashion. This research explores the cartography between autonomous art culture and fashion commerce andRead more

Nomenclature in Fashion Sustainability Research

sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty səˌstānəˈbilədē/ noun the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. “the sustainability of economic growth” avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. “the pursuit of global environmental sustainability” Sustainability; Ethical consumption; Greenwash; Responsible consumption; Organic clothes; Environment; Free trade; Neoliberal economic paradigm; Global apparel industry; Trade policy; Labor markets, Trade liberalization, Green textiles After a read through the available contemporary literature and research, the discourse around fashion sustainability as a whole seems to beRead more

Fashion Archival Research

“Fashion brings together creative authorship, technological production and cultural dissemination associated with dress, drawing together designers, producers, retailers and all of us who wear garments.” (Fletcher, Grose & Hawken 2012: 8). During a recent visit to the Archives Ontario facility at York University, I toured the restoration lab and looked at rare photographs, and learned about histories that were not included in the dominant discourse. If you are not familiar with the archive you can learn more about it here:Read more

Stolen Goods: Plagiarism and Fashion Scholarship

“Arsenic Dress”: English or French, c. 1860s The Fashion Research Collection at Ryerson University. Gift The Racked website, recently published a piece on toxic clothing that appears to be an unattributed reproduction of a body of work by Ryerson University fashion scholar Dr. Alison Matthews David. The Racked post even includes a photo of the arsenic dress from the popular “Fashion Victims” exhibition at the Bata Shoe museum in Toronto that Matthews David and Bata head curator Elizabeth Semmelhack co-curated. http://www.batashoemuseum.ca/fashion-victims/Read more

Holocaust Chic: Homophobia, Anti-Semitism and Abject Fashion Marketing. Mark O’Connell

Holocaust Chic: Homophobia, Anti-Semitism and Abject Fashion Marketing @Mark O’Connell 2017, no reproduction without permission “ I hate the word Homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared. You are an a**hole” Morgan Freeman, Twitter, 2014. Contemporary media engagement results in the constant barrage of information and marketing that is funneled through the myriad channels that stream into devices and apps and into our consciousness. The ability for cognitive registration of any particular item becomes more and more andRead more

Captive Animals

“Speed and efficiency are not in themselves signs of intelligence or capability or correctness. They do not carry with them any moral value. They don’t necessarily make any social contribution. The most horrifying, violent moments of the twentieth century have centered around regimes wedded to efficiency and to speed” (John Ralston Saul, 2013: 260). “Born Ready” @Mark O’Connell 2017 Michael Snow’s flock of Canada Geese perpetually take flight, their frustrated bid for freedom encased in a great glass ceilinged atriumRead more

Frankly Scarlet: Representations of St. Mary Magdalen Through the Italian Renaissance

Abstract: Within Christian iconography there has been a standard representation of scenes from the life of Christ. The main female figure in these scenes is Mary: Jesus’ mother, an archetypal maternal signifier. In addition to an otherwise mostly male visual narrative there is an inclusion of another woman who represents a younger, more worldly, archetype, and that is the figure of Mary Magdalen. An amalgamation of three different women in the biblical narrative, her pictorial representation was reduced to aRead more