Shades of Gray

Kelly O'Brien's avatar Kelly O'Brien

My work is a paper sculpture of a dancer, made from thousands of handmade flowers. It is inspired by Swan Lake’s Odette and Odile, who embody the dichotomy of white and black, light and dark. Yet inside each of us exists a little bit of both. We are complex changing beings, not simply good or bad. This installation explores a more nuanced approach: living in shades of gray. What if there were more options than all or nothing, yes or no, win or lose? What if we had a range of options for happiness? I have struggled with this balance, especially related to achievement and competition. They have fueled ambition and success, but have also chased me into hiding when the stakes felt too high. Living in shades of gray is my current answer to this challenge. The irony of entering an art competition is not lost on me. Is this another act of extremism? Or is it simply having the courage to face something I fear and allow myself to be, regardless of the outcome?

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: 48 inches
  • Medium: paper
  • Width: 48 inches
  • Year created: 2012
  • Height: 75 inches