Anat Ebgi is pleased to announce Wild Mountain Thyme, the debut solo exhibition of Los Angeles painter Gwen O’Neil, on view at 6150 Wilshire Blvd, May 13 – June 24, 2023. An opening reception will take place Saturday, May 13, from 5 – 8pm.
The exhibition is a love letter to Los Angeles, to its striking quality of light, its proximity to the ocean, its expansive skies and majestic mountains. The title, Wild Mountain Thyme refers to a Scottish/Irish folk song of the same name, occasionally known as “Purple Heather”—apt given O’Neil’s bold usage of purple. The song, a love song, was adapted and performed by countless artists and musicians over the last seventy years including James Taylor, The Byrds, and Joan Baez.
As a colorist, O’Neil intuitively and methodically mixes and then dabs pigment-loaded brushes on raw canvas in a chorus of elaborate chromatic harmonies. Her compositions comprise wave-like color shifts of repetitive stippled brushwork, crashing, swirling and buzzing across the surface like static. The luminous canvases draw inspiration from nature and across works O’Neil captures Southern California twilight, contemplates spiraling geometry of shells, and interprets hypnotic formations of starlings, known as murmurations.
Unifying gestures of opening and closing, expanding and collapsing, convey a sense of motion, urgency, dynamism. These cascades of energy guide the eye across winding contours, suggested altitudes—expansive horizons, and Hollywood’s ridge roads. O’Neil listens intuitively to the workings of her process. Her all-over compositions maintain a balance between steady systematic marks and an improvisational looseness explored through color. Formally and conceptually the works hearken to a west coast tradition of capturing light, luminosity, and atmospheric color. The exhibition serves as a manifesto of the invisible forces and energies that surround us.
Gwen O’Neil (b. 1992, New York, NY) received her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA. This solo exhibition follows recent presentations of O’Neil’s work by Anat Ebgi in group contexts including KIAF (Korea International Art Fair), Seoul, Korea; The Armory Show, New York NY; Felix Art Fair, Los Angeles, CA; and If you forget my name, You will go astray—at the gallery’s new Fountain Avenue location. O’Neil’s work is currently on view at the Long Beach Museum of Art in the group exhibition Color Fields. O’Neil lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.