Biography

b. 1939, Los Angeles, CA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA

Pat O’Neill is an American independent experimental filmmaker and artist.  He is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking films which blend iconography, surrealism, humor and sound design to reveal his interest in the connections and divisions between humans and nature.  His films illustrate the materiality of sound, images, and pacing as well as his avant-garde use of the optical printer.  In addition to filmmaking, O’Neill began working with sculpture in the early 1960s. Initially, he worked with surrealistic and erotic assemblages of wood and metal. His vision then shifted and he began to create highly polished forms made out of fiberglass and plexiglass of whimsical and sometimes suggestive forms such as wooden horns, wavy forms wrapped in fur, and pickles.  The artist’s gestures and mark-making seem obscure, but there is plasticity to his images, and sophistication to his techniques. 

Pat O'Neill lives and works in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1962 and continued at UCLA to be the first American to receive a Master’s degree in Moving Image Art in 1964. O’Neill was active in the West Coast film scene and was a founding member of Oasis, a collaboratively run experimental film exhibitor in Los Angeles. His film Water and Power won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival and his complete collection resides at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive. O’Neill’s work has been featured in prominent exhibitions such as Electric Art at The University of California, Los Angeles (1969); The Whitney Biennial, New York (1991); and Los Angeles 1955-1985: The Birth of an Art Capital at The Centre Pompidou, Paris (2006). His works are included in the colections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

All images © Pat O'Neill.