Robyn O'Neil

January 23-March 8, 2018, "Robyn ONeil: We, The Masses," 2011 (CWAM installation view); HD Film, Running time: 13:05 Directed by Eoghan Kidney and based on drawings by Robyn O'Neil. Funded with support from the Irish Film Board. Courtesy of the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery, New York.



Robyn O'Neil: WE, THE MASSES

January 23-March 8, 2018
Sussel Gallery

(Please note that WE, THE MASSES will be screened four times an hour and starts on the quarter hour.)

About the Exhibition

These final hours embrace at last; This is our ending, this is our past.

Born in Nebraska, the Los Angeles-based artist Robyn O'Neil calls herself a "maker of worlds." Her wry, sincere humor infuses the artist's well-known apocalyptic and anxiety-ridden drawings―ten years of which form the basis for her award-winning short film, WE, THE MASSES (2011). After attending Werner Herzog's Rogue Film School where she met Irish director Eoghan Kidney, the two teamed up to bring O'Neil's drawings to life in this thirteen-minute, stop motion animation.

Using her familiar archetype for humanity―sweatsuit-wearing men encountering opposition in nature or self-destructing in Bosch-like tableaus―the film explores futility, hope, and self-inflicted wounds as it swings from the foibles of humanity to the epic effects of weather and the natural world. Prescient yet eerily relevant, WE, THE MASSES tackles both public alienation and the unconscious anxiety of our social and political era.

The film begins with foreboding grey clouds. Wind roars and snow falls as a man drops out of the sky. A series of fruitless actions ensue as the vast landscape becomes a backdrop to the kicking of a dying horse, the lemming-like behavior of an encampment of similarly attired men, and a tsunami that engulfs the camp. The phrase "These final hours embrace at last; This is our ending, this is our past" appears followed by a rope descending from the sky—a reference to Winslow Homer's 1884 painting The Lifeline.

While seemingly a linear narrative, a resolution never arrives because, as the artist states, "Endings can be inconclusive, but yet are still called 'endings.' They are also starting points; things must end so that something else will happen."

Kitty McManus Zurko
CWAM Director/Curator

About the Artist

Robyn O'Neil (b. Omaha, Nebraska, 1977) studied British Art and Architecture at Kings College, London (1997), and received a BFA from Texas A&M University, Commerce (2000). O'Neil received a University Fellowship for Graduate Studies, Fine Art, at the University of Illinois Chicago (2001).

Major solo exhibitions include those at the Des Moines Art Center and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2001), which traveled to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. Other selected solo exhibitions include those at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Susan Inglett Gallery, New York (both in 2017), and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX (2016). Selected group exhibitions include those at The American Folk Art Museum, New York (2008); the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (2007); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2005), and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2004).

O'Neil is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Hunting Prize (2009) and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2008). Represented by the Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, O'Neil also hosts the poetry and literature podcast ME READING STUFF. She lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Saints, Relics, and Images: The Art of Medieval Devotion

Research Lab
January 23-March 8, 2018
Burton D. Morgan Gallery

About the Research Lab

A teaching museum, The College of Wooster Art Museum's (CWAM) primary mission is " . . . to support and enhance the College's goals of teaching, research, service, and global engagement through exhibitions, scholarship, and collection preservation." While the CWAM achieves its mission through a variety of methods, the most in-depth object-based learning takes place within course-embedded, student-curated exhibitions. Saints, Relics, and Images is the seventh such teaching exhibition undertaken by the CWAM in collaboration with faculty since 2010 and is the first in which objects have been brought in on loan from other collections for research and exhibition.

How long will the gallery be a research lab, and when is the exhibition?

From January 23–March 8, 2018, students in Associate Professor of Art History Kara Morrow's Medieval Art seminar will have class and do close looking at the materials in the gallery. During this period the CWAM staff will post updates about what the students encounter during the research phase of their exhibition. These posts will appear both in the gallery and on the CWAM's Facebook page. The exhibition itself opens on Tuesday, April 17 with a reception from 6:30–8:00 p.m. during which the student curators will present their research.

About Saints, Relics, and Images: The Art of Medieval Devotion

The exhibition Saints, Relics, and Images investigates how saints served as exemplars of faith throughout the Middle Ages. From their position in the Court of Heaven, they interacted with the corporal world, their power made manifest in their bodily remains and associated possessions tucked into parish altars and revealed in distant pilgrimage destinations. Sumptuous reliquaries touted the efficacy of saintly relics.

Medieval Christians believed that achieving spiritual illumination was furthered through the commissioning and use of artistic material splendor. As such, luminous glass, precious metals, and ornate surfaces transported worshipers in their devotions enabling interaction with the holy dead. Saints, Relics, and Images: The Art of Medieval Devotion will explore how artistic material supported spiritual illumination in medieval Christian beliefs.

Lenders to the Exhibition

  • The College of Wooster Libraries Special Collections
  • CWAM Permanent Collections
  • Kruizenga Art Museum, Hope College, Hope, Michigan
  • Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), Chicago, Illinois
  • Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Art Galleries