Installation / Land / Site-specific


Found Objects

Mixed media






+1 301 906 6425


Kelly M O’Brien is an American sculptor and installation artist based in the US. She lived in Germany and the UK for 11+ years before returning to the US at the end of 2022. While in the UK, she completed her MA Fine Art with Distinction at Bath Spa University. She received art training at the Staedelschule Adult Academy while in Frankfurt, 2012-14.

Interest in developing a more sustainable practice led her to working with biomaterials (mostly plant-based and biodegradable). Her current work collaborates with nature, including wildlife and plantlife.

A correlated theme has emerged from her research around the idea of bioempathy and how connection to nature can foster a desire to protect and act on its behalf. If “attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver), it is also a form of care.

Empathy for nature and human impact on the natural world underpin Kelly’s work. She uses her practice to explore hopeful flourishing. Beyond studio and gallery, where can this work engage in a praxis of care? How might we foster a web of care for land, people, and creatures?

Residencies: Byrdcliffe Woodstock May-Sept 2023; PADA Lisbon 2022; The Studio Innovation Hub, Bath Spa University 2022.

Awards: Gilbert Bayes Award Royal Society of Sculptors 2023; Hauser & Wirth CalArts Postgraduate Residency finalist 2020; HIX Prize finalist 2019.

Grants & commissions (2019-2023): Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Arts Council England, Gane Trust, Harbut Trust, HPC Community Fund, Somerset Art Works. MFA (Distinction), 2019, Bath Spa University; Staedelschule Adult Academy, Frankfurt, 2012-14.

Exhibited in the UK, US, France, Germany. 

Kelly was a co-founder of Bath Art Depot, CIC, and is co-curator of A Gathering of Unasked Possibility, a collaborative project fostering active hope through creative practitioners.