Robyn O’Neil was born in Omaha but graduated from Texas A&M. Her exhibition at the Modern is called Robyn O’Neil: We, the Masses, and it’s named after an animated film she made in 2011 after attending Werner Herzog’s intensive four-day film course. She also hosts her own podcast entitled Me Reading Stuff. The film will be on display at the museum, but it will mostly be her drawings that you’ll see.
O’Neil executes large works in pencil on paper, many of which depict tiny male figures dwarfed by hostile landscapes. Those men are often wearing black tracksuits and white sneakers, like the Heaven’s Gate cultists who committed mass suicide in 1997. Obscure figures such as faceless busts and dark clouds pervade the frames, suggesting a story that is never quite teased out. Perhaps most impressive is her triptych “HELL,” a collage inspired by Hieronymous Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” that took three years to finish. While many of the works are in black and white, the show also displays some pieces in pastel and colored pencil. It all promises to be an unsettling time at the museum. Let’s see how it delivers.
Robyn O’Neil: We, the Masses runs Fri thru Feb 9 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Admission is $10-16. Call 817-738-9215.