Screen Capture from "We, The Masses"

Robyn O'Neil's "We, The Masses," an award-winning, animated short film, will be the feature exhibition at The College of Wooster Art Museum from Jan. 23-March 8. (courtesy of the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery, New York)


Robyn O’Neil’s Film “We, The Masses” to be Featured at the CWAM, Starting Jan. 23

Research lab for upcoming student-curated exhibition “Saints, Relics, and Images” also on display

19 December, 2017 by Hugh Howard

WOOSTER, Ohio – Starting Tuesday, Jan. 23 and running through March 8, the film “We, The Masses” by Los-Angeles-based artist Robyn O’Neil will be the feature exhibition in the Sussel Gallery at The College of Wooster Art Museum (CWAM), located in the Ebert Art Center (1220 Beall Ave.). The opening reception takes place on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 6:30-8 p.m., with a gallery talk by O’Neil beginning at 7 p.m.

Concurrently in the CWAM’s Burton D. Morgan Gallery, Wooster students enrolled in associate professor of art history Kara Morrow’s medieval art seminar will undertake research for their upcoming exhibition, “Saints, Relics, and Images: The Art of Medieval Devotion,” which opens April 17.

“We, The Masses” is an award-winning, animated short film based on the artwork of the Nebraska-born O’Neil, who calls herself a “maker of worlds.” Her wry, sincere humor infuses her well-known apocalyptic and anxiety-ridden drawings―10 years of which forms the basis of the film. 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 13-minute, stop motion animation. Supported by a grant from the Irish Film Board, “We, The Masses” is presented at the CWAM courtesy of the artist and the Susan Inglett Gallery in New York City.

Using her familiar archetype for humanity―sweatsuit-wearing men encountering opposition in nature or self-destructing in Bosch-like tableaus―”We, The Masses” 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, it tackles both public alienation and the unconscious anxiety of our social and political era.

O’Neil studied British art and architecture at Kings College, received a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and did her graduate work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Major solo exhibitions include those at the Des Moines Art Center and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Hunting Prize and a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and her recently published book, “Robyn O’Neil: 20 Years of Drawing,” is available through Archon Projects.

The forthcoming student-curated exhibitions “Saints, Relics, and Images” investigates how saints served as exemplars of faith throughout the Middle Ages. According to Morrow, the exhibition will explore how artistic material supported spiritual illumination in Medieval Christian beliefs. The opening reception will be on Tuesday, April 17 from 6:30-8 p.m., with presentations by student curators starting at 7 p.m.

The CWAM, which supports the College’s goals of teaching, researching, and global engagement, is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. For additional information, visit the CWAM’s website and/or call (330) 263-2495 or (330) 263-2388.