Sheilagh O'Leary's images, often seared with blasts of light and carved out of vivid darkness, boldly fix the human form on the rocky cliffs of the Newfoundland coast, or in a quiet pool or river. Whe
Sheilagh O'Leary's images, often seared with blasts of light and carved out of vivid darkness, boldly fix the human form on the rocky cliffs of the Newfoundland coast, or in a quiet pool or river. Whether outdoors or in the studio, the human figure is sculptural in her work. It is sometimes textured with superimposed motifs from nature: shrubs on the forest floor, or the lacy patterns of light on water, or the bark of a tree. Nakedness becomes a metaphor for what is essential about human experience, how the body defines us, how we express ourselves physically, and how we belong to the landscape and are also apart from it.
Sheilagh O'Leary is an award-winning art photographer born and currently living in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has appeared in numerous art journals and publications such as the Globe and Mail, Arts Atlantic, and the Newfoundland Quarterly. O'Leary received her art education through Concordia University s Faculty of Fine Art, Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Rockport Maine Workshops. Her passion to study human nature drives her to produce striking collections of black and white nudes and portraits, with an intimate exploration of her subjects and their relationship to the Newfoundland landscape.
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O'Leary captures a remarkable variety of mood and shade in these works, from the starkly mythic grandeur of the vulnerable naked figure exposed to the elements on a rugged beach, to the quietly intimate image of partners considering the birth of a child. She brings to this collection a strong sense of design, expert technical understanding of the art of photography, and a vast interest in the question of what is essentially human. --Lisa Moore
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