“The passing of time is the one thing we all have in common, and yet few of us stop to contemplate it.
Julia O’Bryan ’19 shared her take on time as “elusive commodity ”in the introduction to his senior gallery exhibit Southwestern last spring. His culmination of ceramic sculpture, designed and produced during his dedicated hours in the workshops of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts, explores the fragility of the vital organs that keep us alive and the impact of his illness self -immune on his evaluation of time.
O’Bryan’s awe-inspiring and touching works of art have transcended campus boundaries and are now honored with a prestigious award from the VSA Emerging Young Artists with Disabilities program at the Kennedy Center. A Jean and Kennedy Smith Program for the Arts and Disability, this organization provides a platform for the work of young, emerging artists with disabilities, aged 16 to 25, who live in the United States. O’Bryan’s play, Nice break, received an award of excellence and will appear in the 2019-2020 program catalog. This honor comes with a cash prize and a place among 15 other artists in a year-long exhibition tour across the United States.
The Young Emerging Artists program 2019-2020, titled “Connected”, sought out artists whose work explores unexpected relationships and inspires a deeper understanding of our common existence and our connected lives. O’Bryan’s southwest colleagues would say his artwork fits the bill pretty well. Mary Visser, art teacher and O’Bryan’s mentor, says she is “a student of ideas who models her sculptural forms with a clear idea of securing identity and meaning. To screw admires O’Bryan as an artist who “does not shy away from the emotional context “and which” never ceases to pursue its goal of making sculpture with an internal and external breath. “In O’Bryan’s own words, the work of his spring exhibition – which incorporates coral as a metaphor for artist’s lung deterioration – was created to “[give] supporting others by creating beauty through destruction, ”just as struggling coral provides habitat for others throughout its life process.
O’Bryan’s personal hopes for his work are a testament to his well-deserved recognition. “I hope my work conveys the meaning of a good life well lived,” she says. “I hope my work will give joy, hope and support to others in a similar position.” As she wraps it Southwestern experience this fall with a bachelor of arts in workshop, specializing in sculpture, we congratulate her on her incredible success as both a student and a committed artist. We expect this prestigious award to be one of many to come, and we can’t wait to see how O’Bryan makes the most of his time after graduation.
You can currently see selections of Julia O’Bryan’s artwork in the Art Students’ Room at the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center.