Dr. August L. Freundlich was President of the Richard Florsheim Art Fund and also served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts at both Syracuse University and the University of South Florida.

Mozart, Acrylic on HIPS, 1989, 48″ x 96″

Illusion, imagined reality, these are the substance of John O’Connor’s painting. The paintings belie the fact that his other persona–that of teacher and administrator–deals in the everyday real. That is the everyday reality faced in the university and the studio. Throughout his career, John has been widely engaged in such topics as artist’s issues in law, evaluation of college art programs, health hazards facing the artist and the censorship of art works. In the thirty-four years of his career in Florida, he has sought to establish the artist’s historical contributions to the formation of public policy by founding the Center for the Arts and Public Policy at the University of Florida and serving as director of the Florida Higher Education Arts Network. In teaching Florida’s students, he has made them aware by example of the commitments an artist must make not only to one’s art, but also to the society of this time and place.

O’Connor’s intellectual approach in his art is paralleled by his spoken and written word. Both have been accepted nationally and internationally. In recent years his blackboard series is not only a reflection of his teaching milieu, they also speak of the illusion of real experience–the transitory experience of the chalk-mark on the blackboard being erased after a short existence in time. The challenges of the painter and the professor are the same thing–expressed here on different platforms.

Sacket’s Harbor, NY
June 2003