|Notes on TOPIARIES||view bio|
Spend an hour with David O'Connor's photographs and you'll wonder how you ever looked at topiary and didn't see a surrealist work of art waiting to happen. Under O'Connor's gaze, the obelisks, pyramids, and spirals of these sculpted gardens along the Eastern seaboard become the things that dreams are made of. "I've always been attracted to the more light spirited surreal artists like Ives Tanguy and Paul Delvaux," he says. Tanguy's alien, ethereal landscapes are echoed in O'Connor's images, which make use of infrared film for its phantasmagoric effect. "It's a quiet surrealism," says O'Connor of the series. This subdued sense of whimsy can be seen in a wispy cloud that appears to be spewing from the tip of a cone; in another image, the pruned foliage resembles a nineteen fifties vision of a futuristic terrain. "I wanted to show a kind of visual optimism," explains O'Connor. If a centuries-old tree is a reminder of our fleeting time on this earth, then topiary is a way of saying, We were here. In O'Connor's images, this message to the gods is reimagined as a shadowy daydream.