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CUAC is pleased to present Fran O’Neill: Magical Thinking and Matthew Choberka: A Beautiful Wall

Fran O’Neill, Time Slip, 84″ x 84″, oil on canvas, 2016

CUAC is pleased to present two solo exhibitions of abstract paintings. One painter, O’Neill, creates luscious, deep, beautiful, and moving paintings that will stop foot traffic moving past the gallery in its tracks; while the other, Choberka, delves into a cerebral painterliness that challenges our notions of beauty with equal skill and domination of color.

Pairing Utah’s Matthew Choberka with New York’s Fran O’Neil is a great example of what we try to do at CUAC. O’Neil is a well-recognized artist and a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Fellowship who has exhibited internationally many times; Choberka is likewise an accomplished artist who has received accolades for his work and exhibited it broadly. The pairing is magical, though, because it connects the best of what happens in Utah with the best that happens in New York and abroad. It contextualizes our local community in a broader context and provides a measuring stick for comparisons that tend to be positive.

Director, Adam Bateman

Matthew Choberka is based in Ogden, UT where he is Chair of the Department of Visual Art and Design at Weber State University. Choberka’s paintings are calculated interruptions and investigations of the so-called rules of painting. Like a jazz musician, he is careful to set up a set of visual cues that engage with the traditional and academic painting tradition only to create a space where he can turn them on their head and defy tradition and break the rules completely. His compositions in this series focus on the periphery of the canvas. The interest lies at the edges and creates emptiness where a viewer is accustomed to seeing the subject. The color palate often defies color-theory and challenges ideas of beauty, but the garish moments and the moments of clashing color or compositions are so perfect they reveal his depth of skill and vision.

Choberka received his BFA from Columbia College Chicago, a Certificate Program from the New York Studio School, and an MFA from Indiana University, one of the nation’s top painting programs. He has exhibited his work internationally. He is represented by Beaux Arts des Ameriques Gallery, Montreal, CA, and galleryELL in Brooklyn, NY, and A Gallery in Salt Lake City.

Brooklyn-based artist Fran O’Neill is a recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Fellowship. She is an award winning and widely exhibited painter with exhibitions internationally. Her work is often large-scale and engaged with mysterious mark-making in a way that reads as both Pop and Abstract Expressionist. The difficult to identify actions of painting exist somewhere between action and stasis—something that reads almost like a photograph of a brush-stroke full of movement and depth. It is through this paradox that she explores the traditions of abstraction and contributes to a contemporary conversation about painting.

O’Neill earned a BFA at Monash University in her native Australia. She completed a Certificate Program at the historically painting heavy New York Studio School and an MFA from Brooklyn College. O’Neill teaches at The New York Studio School, Pratt Institute, and Art Students League. She is currently exhibiting at MOCA in Jacksonville, FL, Life On Mars Gallery in New York and Hathaway David in Atlanta, GA.