John O'Reilly

Recent Montage

June 9 – August 12, 2011

Press Release

The Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to present a selection of recent photomontages by the highly-respected artist. This exhibition marks the gallery’s first solo presentation of the artist’s work.

The exhibition will join together a group of photographic collages that employ sophisticated compositional elements. The works are often richly imbued with the art historical references for which O’Reilly displays a loving fascination. Using razor blades, paper clips, glue, and an old Polaroid camera, the artist intricately collages photographs and found materials to create intimate worlds that daringly intertwine Italian Renaissance masters such as Caravaggio with pornographic imagery. As the artist has remarked, “I love the clash of pornography with the righteousness of a beautiful masterpiece.” Exploring issues of sexuality and self-definition, the works weave together elements of erotic sensuality as well as tender poignancy.

John O’Reilly (b. 1930) was born in suburban New Jersey, though he has spent most of his life living and working in Massachusetts. Although for many years he only shared his work with close friends, his momentous inclusion in the 1995 Whitney Biennial has brought success and increasing critical praise to his endlessly inventive compositions. A 2002 exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art, curated by Klaus Kertess and accompanied by an ambitious exhibition catalogue, also served to cement his place as a contemporary artist of note.

Having studied painting at Syracuse University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his work is included in collections of numerous museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover.