This multi-year artwork – which feeds off and is nourished by James Joyce’s final book, the 628-page novel Finnegans Wake – yokes together my twinning interests of the visual and the verbal, the illustrative and the intellectual. Using coloured words as scaffolding, the artwork is both abstract and representational.
LOTS OF FUN WITH FINNEGANS WAKE has been exhibited in Antwerp, Hong Kong, Montreal, New York, and Toronto, and been published by journals in Canada, England, Ireland, Israel, and the U.S.
INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS OF
LOTS OF FUN WITH FINNEGANS WAKE
INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS OF
LOTS OF FUN WITH FINNEGANS WAKE
- The Brooklyn Review (U.S.). Forthcoming.
- Joyce Studies Annual 2018 (U.S.).
2,000-word essay and 8 pages: 126 – 33
- Jelly Bucket Literary Journal Number 9 (U.S.).
- Existere Volume 38, Issue 1 (Canada).
- The Raw Art Review Fall (U.S.). 1 page: 30
- Art / Research International Volume 3, Issue 2 (Canada).
3,000-word essay and 8 pages: 134 – 41
- The Globe and Mail June 16 (Canada).
4 pages: 15, 151, 203, 204
- The Fortnightly Review (England).
7 pages: 37, 38, 67 – 72
- HCE Review Volume 11, Issue 11 (Ireland).
1 page: 151
- The Ilanot Review Volume 15 (Israel).
3 pages: 19, 59, 197
- Silver Streams Issue 3 (Ireland).
1 page: 34
- World Literature Today (U.S.).
8 pages: 201 – 08
- James Joyce Quarterly Volume 53, Number 1-2 (U. S.). Cover image.
INTERNATIONAL REVIEWS, TESTIMONIALS, AND COMMENTARY
O’Brien does not represent an organized, collective movement, instead having much in common with art brut: the kind of work produced by solitary figures on the margins of the institutions and markets of the art world, thus bearing witness to another kind of freedom.”
DAVID SPURR IS PROFESSOR EMERITUS AT THE UNIVERSITÉ DE GENÈVE, SWITZERLAND. HIS BOOKS INCLUDE ARCHITECTURE AND MODERN LITERATURE (2012) AND JOYCE AND THE SCENE OF MODERNITY (2002).
Joyce needed only words, but struggled to leave the space of his text alone. In glorious colour, Peter O’Brien here extends this principle and packs material into every spare space.”
FINN FORDHAM IS A PROFESSOR IN 20TH CENTURY LITERATURE AT ROYAL HOLLOWAY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON. HE CO-EDITED AND WROTE THE INTRODUCTION FOR THE OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS EDITION OF FINNEGANS WAKE (2012).
Finnegans Wake refuses to stay in its box and, as O’Brien demonstrates, it lures brave, brilliant accomplices dedicated to giving the book wings.”
DENIS BOYLES IS A JOURNALIST, EDITOR, AND AUTHOR, BASED IN FRANCE. HIS BOOKS INCLUDE EVERYTHING EXPLAINED THAT IS EXPLAINABLE: ON THE CREATION OF THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA’S CELEBRATED 11TH EDITION (2017).
… stunning and constantly shifting ingenuity … O’Brien’s sinuous and insinuating text babbles like a brook, flows like a stream, trickles and pools like something spilled and sticky.”
GARRY LEONARD IS A PROFESSOR IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT, AND A MEMBER OF THE FACULTY OF THE INNIS GRADUATE SCHOOL IN CINEMA, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO. HIS BOOKS INCLUDE READING DUBLINERS AGAIN: A LACANIAN PERSPECTIVE (1993).
What a delight to find such an astute defender of the radical aspiration in art! It is increasing hard to find people who love, and take pleasure in art of purposeful difficulty. You provide an exquisite example of the textual play that nearly every phrase in the Wake animates! Wonderful!”
R. BRUCE ELDER, FRSC, IS A FILMMAKER, WRITER, AND PROFESSOR IN THE SCHOOL OF IMAGE ARTS & GRADUATE PROGRAM IN COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE, RYERSON UNIVERSITY, TORONTO.
… the labor and skill and imagination that went into taking the words of the Wake and transforming them into something so wildly and beautifully new gives it a more intense depth than I’ve seen in any other painting or visual art. What more can I say, except thank you, Peter O’Brien, for this treasure.”
MARGOT NORRIS IS CHANCELLOR’S PROFESSOR EMERITA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE. HER PUBLICATIONS INCLUDE THE VALUE OF JAMES JOYCE (2016).
Joyce’s universe is vividly presented, and Peter O’Brien’s artwork adds yet more illustrative and intellectual layers onto this rich, inclusive, varied, and variable book.”
CONGRONG DAI IS A PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CHINESE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE AT FUDAN UNIVERSITY, SHANGHAI AND CO-DIRECTOR OF THE CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE FOR SCOTLAND, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH. HER TRANSLATION OF BOOK I OF FINNEGANS WAKE WAS AWARDED CHINA’S INFLUENTIAL BOOK OF 2012 AWARD.
Part homage, part autopsy, ‘The echo is where’ sees O’Brien interpolating his own researches and ruminations into the pages of Joyce’s monumental literary folly.”
BETTY ANN JORDAN IS A TORONTO-BASED ARTS COMMENTATOR AND CULTURAL TOUR MAVEN. SHE WAS AN EDITOR AT CANADIAN ART AND CURRENTLY GIVES SEMINARS THROUGH CLASSICAL PURSUITS.
O’Brien elaborates on and questions Finnegans Wake as an ‘unreadable’ book and calls it ‘communist’…He is right – and he does something about it: he puts into practice a counter strategy. If the book is unreadable, it may be ‘writeable.’ ”
GERMAN-IRISH ART HISTORIAN CHRISTA-MARIA LERM HAYES IS PROFESSOR OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART HISTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM. SHE HAS CURATED EXHIBITIONS IN IRELAND, SOUTH KOREA, RUSSIA, FRANCE, AND THE NETHERLANDS.
On the walls … were the jaw-dropping creations of Peter O’Brien, who had taken the pages of … Finnegans Wake and artfully filled them with colourful annotations and illustrations … I told him I’d love to have an entire book of this. He shared with me a sneak preview of some of the other pages and they are incredible.”
PETER QUADRINO RUNS THE “FINNEGANS, WAKE!” BLOG DEVOTED TO FINNEGANS WAKE AND THE HOMEPAGE FOR THE FINNEGANS WAKE READING GROUP OF AUSTIN, TEXAS.