ahac oconnor two

ahac oconnor twoOpening Night: Saturday, February 3, 6:00 – 9:00pm

54 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – “The title of this exhibition reflects two things – first, that it’s a collaboration between two people, and second, that one of those two people, my daughter Eden, is two years old.  When I was first approached about exhibiting, I realized that the majority of my current art making was centered around my daughter.  I’ve been watching her exploration of creating for the first time.  Her fearless curiosity and constant want of crayons, chalk, pencils to make “flowas” (her best attempt at pronouncing “flowers”).  She makes no judgments – just revels in the act of making.  The large sheets of newsprint I supply her cover the kitchen floor and beyond.  A few months ago I was drawing with her and began to think and wonder – could I tap into that carefree, judgeless act of making that I was witnessing?  Could I let go of the voices (teachers, colleagues, friends, family, myself) and the self-imposed expectations of creating something “important”, “meaningful”, “beautiful”, or sellable?


So I decided to take some of Eden’s drawings as a starting point for this new work.  I took photographs of the newsprint pages and began incorporating her marks into my canvases.  She drew directly into some of them and walked on others (I was careful not to take this as criticism!).  She would say “daddy fix” whenever she snapped one of her crayons.  I created silk screens using the photographs and began printing her marks into my work.  In some cases I tried to make some of the images “realistic”, in others not.  My main goal was to stay focused on the shapes, colors and marks of her uninhibited two-year old creativity.

My art training was very traditional – drawing and painting from the model, 2D design, color theory and more.  Often attempting to recreate reality.  Graduate school took it further into the realm of politics and philosophy.  I gained a lot of skill in my time at school and my years of studio practice.  The materials and tools of my craft are very familiar and feel natural to me now.  But Eden’s carefree and judgeless act of creating is not something I learned at school.  She taught something innate, raw and unencumbered –she taught me something I could only have learned from someone who is two.” -R.O’Connor

Robert O’Connor holds an MFA degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a bachelors and masters degree from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.  He also studied at the National Academy and the Art Students League of NY where he received the prestigious Edward McDowell Grant.   Robert served as Exhibition Coordinator for the Visual Arts MFA program at VCFA  from 2010 through 2012.  He has participated in several film festivals including the Chicago Underground Film Festival and the Provincetown International Film Festival and his videos have been shown at Arizona State University Art Museum and at Mass MoCA.  His paintings, prints and videos have been exhibited at New York Studio Gallery (including two solo exhibitions).  Robert is also a musician and is currently studying composition at the Juilliard School Evening Division and attended the European American Musical Alliance in Paris in the summer of 2016.  He is also an avid community arts volunteer and is the founder and Artistic Director of FilmOneFest, the one-minute international film festival that takes place every July in Atlantic Highlands.

This exhibit will be on display February 1 – 28 at

Atlantic Highlands Arts Council

54 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716

Gallery Hours:

Monday – Closed

Tuesday –1:00-7:00

Wednesday – 1:00-7:00

Thursday – 1:00-4:00

Friday – 1:00-7:00

Saturday – 10:00-7:00

Sunday – 11:00-3:00

The AHAC is a nonprofit organization who’s mission is to “strengthen community through the arts’. This program is made possible in part by Monmouth Arts through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...