About Me

My Photo
Visual Artist based in Ireland.

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 notion 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
http://pallasprojects.org/index.php/project/kathy-oleary5th-wheel-element-project

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.
https://soundcloud.com/wolfmasterofficial/attention-fifth-element

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, http://www.acw.ie/

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. http://www.aica.ie/members-3/marianne-okane-boal/

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

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Some experimental shorts here that I've been involved with

https://vimeo.com/kathyoleary
View some of my video work here...
Version:1.0StartHTML:0000000167EndHTML:0000000876StartFragment:0000000454EndFragment:0000000860