Norman O’Flynn (b. 1971) is a prolific painter, sculptor and self-styled constructor,
who has held ten solo shows, and participated in numerous group exhibitions, residencies and workshorps across the globe
from Switzerland to Egypt, Lebanon to Zambia.
His love of an interdisciplinary approach and cross-cultural collaboration adds extra pep to his distinct visual language,
a vocabulary of immediately and globally recognisable imagery.
These ideas are brilliantly embodied in O’Flynn’s Time Keeper series. The works incorporate his trademark visual language, replete with pop iconography, superheroes, explosions, religious symbols and graffiti-esque mantras, tattooed across the bodies of imposing masked figures, exalted by backgrounds of buzzing colour and motif, the whole reverse painted onto plexiglass for a slick finish.
The figures are based mostly on real-life people encountered by O’Flynn – people with intriguing stories and iconic potential – a relational starting point for the artist’s creative process. And so the artworks occupy a strange bipolar middle ground, playing with the duality of personal portrait vs. anonymous placeholder.
This inherent contradiction evades binary classification, and it’s hard to know whether these Time Keepers are heroes or villains. But whichever “side” they’re on, what’s clear is that they are survivors, they’ve adapted - whether by dust mask, digital filter or perhaps by mastering the art of selfie-promotion and self-deification. Binary code digits add to the confusion, also suggesting a countdown to “something” imminent.