Visual Artist

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Visual Artist based in Ireland.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Emerging; Lá le Brigid, 2015.

Emerging; Lá le Brigid, 2015.

To start the year as I intend to go on and establish a regular blog.  I'm taking the advice of a lovely encouraging friend Sinéad O'Donnell to do some more writing.  I've been wanting to do this for a while but the 'fear' and 'vulnerability' of putting my thoughts into words has up to now got the better of me.  I've never been confident about such things.  My brain tends to work much more comfortably in a visual format of communication.  Translating is therefore always a necessity for me, from visual to text.  There was a time when I was unable to communicate verbally and I eventually found being able to transfer messages through a visual format was an effective methodology of expression.  I have therefore included some imagery to share on this day, Lá le Brigid; Imbolc. 

I do love this time of year as we slowly enter Spring from the cold Winter. It is still showing signs of Winter amongst the fields. Making sure the birds have some nourishment is important and we continue this practice throughout the winter and spring. 

Today is also #WorldWetlandsDay we need to preserve our #WetlandsForOurFuture and #BirdLife. After driving around the local Lakeland's and Highland's, seeing #Nature slowly emerging is beginning to warm me internally, as its still cold out in the wilderness and I can't be out in it for a long time.

I love the shadows and reflections created here from the double imaging the water produces with the landscape. While I was at the lake I was lucky enough to spend time in the presence of two swans, paired and posed in the distance ready for the warmth that spring will bring. 

The swans existence, was reminiscent of W.B. Yeats poem 'Leda and the Swan' where he wrote about the duality of human nature, in Irish Landscape and Waterways. He was magically able to allow his thoughts and imagination to fall onto the fibers derived from the very nature, that conceived the birthing of some of his poetry.  Yeats spent many of his summers in the West of Ireland.

Ireland has now thankfully got a treasured heritage of artists and poets that have responded to the scenes and context of the country. Some of this contemporary poetry, can be found here; Contemporary Irish Women poets where Christine Murray has compiled a list of female poets for further reading. Its definitely worth checking out.

Losing light quickly I headed for the hills to give my dog a few different scents to take in before settling in for the evening.

The Moon peering through the trees then graced us with its presence to top this day of Imbolc off, to prepare us for tomorrow's Full moon.  

Raynaud's Disease with a long-term spinal injury doesn't mix so well with the cold or indeed any extremities but I do what I can and work really hard to not let this stop me.

There's a few previous topics that I intend to write about for other blogs, so watch this space.

Enjoy February and everything that it may bring, wherever you are.
Love and Light.

Visual Artist. M.A., Art in the Contemporary World, N.C.A.D. 2013.

Friday, 26 September 2014

'5th Wheel Element Project 2014'

It's the second last day for The 5th Wheel Element Project at the The Dock Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. There has been great support through-out the process and it's been much appreciated.
I can't believe it's nearly a year since I posted here. What a busy time.
More catching up to do again soon once the winter sets in. For now I must dash again.
Have a great weekend y'all!
My best.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

'5th Wheel Element Project' Review by Marianne O'Kane Boal

Review on Kathy O’Leary's '5th Wheel Element Project' by Marianne O'Kane Boal
Kathy O’Leary’s practice is interrogatory and exploratory. It brings attention to process, community and shared perspectives. The work invites us to look at the familiar in a new way, from an alternative vantage point. We are encouraged to look closely at the overlooked, to appreciate that which we take for granted and to analyze our experience of time and space. It is part philosophical, part sociological, but all necessary, in terms of enquiry.

O’Leary employs a variety of art forms, practices and techniques to invite more comprehensive audience participation, as is befitting participatory practice. There is no room for passive viewing in ‘5th Wheel Element Project.’ The title is important, the idea of the 5th wheel points to the complicated extra dimension. Four wheels are necessary for balance and movement and what of the fifth? Yet the idea of five elements ties into psychology’s ‘Big Five personality traits,’ as highlighted by O’Leary; openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. It can also refer to the five senses – touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing – again crucial to the participatory experience of Kathy O’Leary’s work. 

The artist encourages us to understand her alternative point of view but there is nothing self-serving about this work. The inception of this project was a letter describing ‘Student X,’ through which the artist wished to highlight the experience of an unnamed person with a disability in an educational institution, where way finding and navigational routes had been formed without sufficient consideration of disabled access. Her experiment consisted of a Fire Drill Intervention at NCAD, where everyone engaging in the project had to navigate their way from upstairs within the building via wheelchair to the central concourse. O’Leary’s experiment was designed to tie in with Augusto Boal’s concept of ‘invisible theatre,’ where an event is planned but does not allow the spectators to know that the event is happening. It also highlights Boal’s central premise of the Theatre of the Oppressed, where the idea of the ‘spect-actor,’ means that audience members are invited ‘onstage,’ or to participate, as part of the drama. This allows participants to act out issues affecting their lives and inviting community members to translate these lessons into social action. This is exactly what O’Leary did at NCAD to great effect. 
‘Student X, Fire Drill Intervention' 2013
Photo by Lucy Estrada 
Her digital prints that include All Angles and Colours are designed to focus and challenge our perceptions. They point to the notion of multiple ways of looking and seeing, the lines of perception and enquiry. O’Leary explains these works are ‘based on invisible/visible lines of perception and perspectives that can relate to the psychological. The drawing I created was originally influenced by pylons that generate electricity unseen by the eye but we still know it is there, so ethereal as well.’
‘Clogging Cogs’ 
Her thought provoking piece ‘Clogging Cogs’ is an ingenious wall installation that uses a circular network of industrial cogs that are moved when an audience member pushes the wheel to set the cogs in motion. These cogs were sourced by the artist following a visit to her engineer to repair a broken axle on her wheelchair. The engineer did not have a use for these so gifted a substantial amount to O’Leary to allow her to create this interactive wall installation. 
Kathy O’Leary’s practice respects and proposes ‘the Golden Rule’ or ‘Ethic of Reciprocity.’ This familiar maxim which is found in the scriptures of almost every religion, states that ‘One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.’ This is a vital element of the artist’s socially engaged art. As Lynn Froggett has stated on this type of practice ‘through collaboration, participation, dialogue, provocation and immersive experiences...[socially engaged practice is designed to] widen audience participation.’ O’Leary embraces all these methods naturally and her work is testimony to this.
Marianne O’Kane Boal, October 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

"5th Wheel Element Project" by Kathy O'Leary

"5th Wheel Element Project" by Kathy O'Leary

Review by Susan Hobbs Edwards
Pallas Projects Studios
August, 2013

One approaches the entry way of the studio building to a door and walks up a ramp embedded with 5 wheels and a simply drawn circle in the cement. There is an immediate awareness of entering a new perspective of living. In fact, Ms. O’Leary had the ramp put in at her request to enable her easier access to her own exhibition. Not only does she actively engage others to be part of her perspective, she is always creating new methods and pathways for this to be expanded for herself.

Those embedded wheels are also found fixated on a wall, meshing and interacting much as she hopes she will enable participation and inclusion of a reality she lives and practices. Within the space of her exhibition are a multitude of holistic symbols centred in the mystical and physical realities of life. The circular objects of the wheel are synthetic ready-made, used in the construction of cement reinforcement structures. They are a physical and symbolic reminder of the strength and support the human body needs to function in our living spaces. Her documentation, digital photography prints and installations give images of human obstacles and humour to meet those challenges. The audio and visual work of Clogging Cogs give a metaphor of transformation and change.

The most symbolic part of her exhibition is the title itself… “The 5th Wheel Element.”  Elements are those basic parts of the Universe that encompass all living entities; wind, water, earth and fire. For thousands of years, the 5th element has been Spirit. It is the breath of Life and the manifestation of the other four elements. How fitting that an art work and practice which helps to question the perception of normality is informed from a most basic concept of Spirit.

Susan Hobbs Edwards.
Susan is an artist, curator and writer. She is currently studying her Master Degree, Art in The Contemporary World at NCAD,

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

5th Wheel Element Project

 5th Wheel Element Project
1st – 3rd August | Preview: 1st August at 6pm
Pallas Projects/Studios, 115–117 The Coombe, Dublin 8
Gallery hours 12 – 6pm
5th Wheel Element Project involves creating dialogue through art, documentation and performance around the politics of participation. Installations that evoke and alternate the line between the real and the fictional are created. In 2013 I had applied for a grant for a Smartdrive to adapt and make life more manageable, in terms of access. Alas, I didn’t get the grant so I adapted the project and the “5th Wheel Element” has become an ethereal, collaborative, experimental and a subversive experience to challenge ‘outside the box’ and what is perceived as the norm is where the 5th Wheel Element Project allusion comes from. “Clogging cogs”, is the title of an audio and visual experience, wall piece that is amongst other interpretations as a part of the show.
To date my practice has been to use art as an experimental research tool to configure a language that speaks of inclusion. My concern and focus for this project is to develop and examine issues that relate to accessing urban landscapes which involve creating new aesthetics and concepts for my visual practice through capturing moments of light, satire and motion.  
5th Wheel Element Project is elaborated through a series of events including an exhibition and artist in-conversation with Marianne O’ Kane Boal, Art and Architecture Critic and Curator.

Monday, 20 August 2012

'Open Book | Leabhar Oscailte'

'Open Book | Leabhar Oscailte'

Invitation to a solo exhibition by Kathy O' Leary
Of new multidisciplinary artworks including experimental short-films,
Digital and Contemporary Etching prints, photography, 
interactive word/text-play and sculpture

The exhibition will be opened by Irish Visual Artist
Vivienne Roche

On Saturday 15th of September @ 3pm,
The Working Artists Studio Gallery,
71 North Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork

The exhibition will run until Saturday 13th of October

All welcome