Robert O’Brien is an artist living and working in both London and Sweden, enjoying the stark contrast between the countries and their culture.
Robert works in both oil and watercolour, and paints predominantly faces in isolation with minimal backgrounds in order to draw full attention to the subject’s face and expression without distractions. Allowing the viewer to start their own dialogue with the work – who might the subject be and what is their story. This is evident in Robert’s ongoing projects; “Abandoned souls” and “Post card project“.
Robert enjoys working at speed, avoiding the chance of over working, of growing lethargic, “Prompting chance, Provoking accidents” (Francis Bacon) drifting off into a mindful state with subconscious reactions. His subjects are close friends and family as well as strangers and old photos.
Robert has had work shown in numerous galleries including The National Portrait Gallery, The Mall Galleries and Palazzo Strozzi. In 2008 Robert was awarded 3rd prize in the prestigious BP Portrait Award and went on to be selected again in 2014. Robert has also been part of the “Mystery Postcard Portrait” by the National Portrait Gallery, London on several occasions, and was selected for The Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2016. Exhibitions – The Colombia Threadneedle Prize 2016, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence – Moving Art Project 2016, Sweden – The Colombia Threadneedle Prize 2016, The Mall Galleries – BP Portrait Award 2015, Aberystwyth Arts Centre – BP Portrait Award 2015, The Scottish National Portrait Gallery – BP Portrait Award 2014, Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden – BP Portrait Award 2014, National Portrait Gallery, London – Portrait Gala 2014, National Portrait Gallery – Portrait Gala 2009, National Portrait Gallery – BP Portrait Award 2009, Aberystwyth Arts Centre – BP Portrait Award 2009, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museum – BP Portrait Award 2008, Wolverhampton Art Gallery – BP Portrait Award 2008, National Portrait Gallery, London
Awards – 3rd BP Portrait Award, 2008
Books – 500 Portraits. Revised – BP Portrait Award 2014 – 500 Portraits – BP Portrait Award 2008