Helen O’Leary grew up in rural Ireland in the 1960s through the 1980s. It was a life of survival, where industriousness and invention born of need were placed on equal footing with rich literature, music, language, and personal narrative.
"I work from memoir, stories of growing up on the farm in Wexford and my life now in the United States, short stories that I then fashion from the archaeology of my studio. I work the studio as my father worked the farm, with invention out of need, using my own displacement as fodder for meaning. I take things apart, forgetting conventions and reapply my own story to the form. I revel in the history of painting, its rules, its beauty, its techniques, but fold them back into the agricultural language I grew up with. I’m interested in the personal, my own story, and the history of storytelling."