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Artist StatementIn researching the history of wilderness in America I explored the idea that as Americans, our cultural attitude towards our natural environment has been shaped and influenced by the mindsets and actions of the pioneers and frontiersmen who came before us. I argue that their fearful and destructive stance towards uncultivated land is still imbued in the minds of many Americans who claim to be outdoors enthusiasts and yet deny climate change and support politicians who are actively campaigning against the protection and preservation of our environment. Through the creation of several sculptural works, as well as personal forays into “wilderness,” I attempt to understand and overcome the destructive masculine tendencies of my country’s frontier forefathers. Only through a changing of mindsets and an acceptance of co-existence can we accept and understand our place within the interconnected mesh of all living things.
Bryan O’Neill is an intermedia artist in Baltimore, Maryland. He earned his MFA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Intermedia and Digital Art in 2019 and his BFA in photography at Towson University in 2016. Utilizing sculpture, photography, and performance to create work which explores intersections of mankind and Nature. Focusing on American ideas of wilderness, survivalism, manliness, and absurdity he explores the ecological thought and the performance of masculinity in the culture of the outdoorsman. His process focuses heavily upon repetition to create installations which reveal hours of meditative effort through salvaged wood, camp rope, and resin.