Brendan O’Connell creates beauty out of what others might perceive as the most prosaic place on earth: Wal-Mart. This multinational corporation is perhaps the ultimate icon of American consumerism. Mr. O’Connell spent the previous two years photographing and sketching his surroundings inside these mega-stores. His subjects include young shoppers, piles of flip flops, stacks of ketchup bottles and cleaning supplies.
The series, which encompasses both large and small works, is a polychromatic expose of artificial light and texture. O’Connell’s casual treatment of surface is the diametrical opposite of his subjects, which are the ordered and perfect isles inside these American temples of consumption.
O’Connell spent seven years drawing portraits in Paris, Barcelona and Rome. He later returned to the States and settled in rural Connecticut, where he paints in a barn in the hollow of Mohawk Mountain. Although his studio is located in an idyllic rural setting, one can be shopping in the show’s namesake within a 15-minute drive of his door.