Staff Show 2013: Lydia O’Connor

In this series, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator Emily Bray profiles participants in the 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show. Join us tonight for a reception, 5 to 8 pm!

Lydia O’Connor holds a Master of Philosophy in Film Theory from Trinity College Dublin.  While she considers herself a great appreciator of art and the artistic process, this is her first foray into the creative side of the art world.

Lydia O'Connor Image

Lydia O’Connor, Transitory, 2013, Photograph

What do you do at The Phillips Collection?  Are there any unique/interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?
Finance Assistant.   I get to enjoy a birds-eye view of the entire museum’s operations from conservation to curatorial to education to facilities and maintenance through the daily financial aspects that cross my desk.

Who is/are your favorite artist/artists in the collection?
The Phillips Collection enjoys a star-studded list of artists including Van Gogh, Degas, RenoirPicassoCezanneKlee, Rothko and so many more… . It’s quite difficult to choose a favorite when you’re in the presence of such awe-inspiring masterworks.  I absolutely adore Wassily Kandinsky.  The Phillips Collection has several Kandinsky paintings and I am always excited when these are on display.

What is your favorite gallery/space within The Phillips Collection?
The Music Room for me is a very special place.  While much of our gallery space is typical white walls, the original home carries a spirit I think is thrilling to the museum experience.  The Music Room has a drama and a life that’s unique.  I really feel like I am in the home of Duncan and Marjorie Phillips and the many beautiful concerts and events we hold here at the Phillips seem to reverberate from floor to ceiling.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2013 Staff Show (and/or your work in general)?
I took this photo one morning in early April.  I noticed as I walked up Q street from the Dupont Circle metro that the wonderful lavender petals from our tulip magnolia tree were shedding creating a blanket of color beneath the red brick of the original house; the play of the light sprinkling shadows across the building in the morning sunshine.  It was a moment of Phillips magic. A few hours later when I left the office for lunch, the tree was bare and many of the petals that had carpeted the ground had blown away.  I knew then I had been witness to a special and fleeting moment in the life of this tree.

The 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show will be on view September 23, 2013 through October 20, 2013. The show features artwork from Phillips Collection staff.

 Emily Bray, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator

Staff Show 2013: Michelle Lisa Herman

In this series, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator Emily Bray profiles participants in the 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show. Join us for the Staff Show reception on October 10, from 5:30 to 8 pm.

michelle lisa herman_carnivale

Michelle Lisa Herman, Carnivale, 2013, Sumi ink and acrylic on mylar with a paper

Michelle Lisa Herman is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Washington, DC. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008 with a BFA in general fine art and art history. Her work spans a variety of media, from abstract painting to interactive installation, often exploring ideas of communication and a desire for connection in the digital age. She has exhibited her work nationally in a variety of spaces including the Smithsonian Institution International Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, DC Arts Center, Artisphere, and the Washington Project for the Arts. Michelle Lisa Herman is a member of the Sparkplug artist collective sponsored by the DC Arts Center.

What do you do at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?
I am the Digital Media Manager. One of the most interesting parts of my job is how it ends up overlapping with my art—sometimes I’ll be researching something for a piece and think of how it could be used at the Phillips or vice versa. I think being an artist has helped with a lot of larger projects as I have grown pretty skilled at seeing how individual, disparate elements will all come together.

Who are your favorite artists in the collection?
Two of my favorite artists in our collection are Odilon Redon and Francis Bacon.

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2013 Staff Show?
In my paintings I explore the essence of chance using a technique of painting called ‘decalcomania.’ By pressing ink or paint between two surfaces and then pulling them apart, I am able to create complex fractal patterns that upon deeper observation can take on a variety of interpretations—from mountainous landscapes to mythical creatures. I am fascinated with this method of painting as it allows me to remove the artist’s hand from a material that compels it.

The 2013 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show will be on view September 23, 2013 through October 20, 2013. The show features artwork from Phillips Collection staff.

Emily Bray, Young Artists Exhibitions Program Coordinator