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Helen O’Leary

Professor of Art
Helen O'Leary's head shot

Helen O’ Leary was born in Wexford she attended NCAD and earned a B.F.A. and M.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. She has been honored with the Rome Prize American Academy in Rome, Hennessy Purchase Award, IMMA, Dublin, Purchase Award American Academy of Arts and Letters, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; two Pollock-Krasner awards; the Joan Mitchell Award for painting and sculpture; and several grants from the Arts Council.  She is a fellow of several residencies, including the Culturel Irlandaise, France; the Sam and Adele Golden Residency, NY; Mac Dowell, NY; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ME; and Yaddo, NY. Exhibitions include the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The American Academy in Rome, Italy, NY; The MAC Belfast, Ireland; National Gallery of Art, Ireland; IMMA, Dublin, Ireland; Lesley Heller Gallery, NY; Maine Museum of Art, Bangor, Maine, Muscarele Museum of Art, Williamsburg, Virginia; The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland; The National Portrait Gallery, Limerick, Ireland: Galerie le Petit Port, Ireland; the Contemporary Arts Centre, Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, Australia; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, IL; Kerlin Gallery, Ireland; and Fenderesky Gallery, Ireland. She is represented by Patricia Sweetow, San Francisco, Lesley Heller, NY and Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast. She currently lives in Jersey City, NJ and Drumshanbo, Ireland.

  • Education
    • MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989
    • BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987
    • Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1994
    • Studied at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland in 1982–88
  • Honors & Awards

    2018

    • Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome
    • Hennessy Purchase prize, IMMA, Dublin, Ireland

    2017

    • Yaddo, New York
    • Golden Paints, Fellowship, New Berlin, New York

    2016

    • American Academy of Arts and Letters, Purchase Prize Mac Dowell Fellowship, New Hampshire
    • Bogliasco Fellowship, Genoa, Italy
    • Culture Ireland Grant, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin Joan Mitchell inaugural artist in Residence, New Orleans, Louisiana

    2015

    • Joan Mitchell inaugural artist in Residence, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Art Swatch Hotel, Shanghai, China

    2011–12

    • Penn State Research Grant

    2010–11

    • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship

    2010

    • Culturel Irlandaise, Fellowship/Residency

    2009

    • College of Arts and Architecture, research award

    2008

    • Unravelling Development, Curated by Joe lee, Public money award.

    2001

    • “Sileage,” Commisions Project, Irish Arts Council

    2000

    • Joan Mitchell Award for painting and sculpture

    1997

    • Ballinglen Artist Foundation

    1996

    • Pollock-Krasner Award

    1994

    • Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, scholarship

    1991

    • Community Arts Assistance Grant, Chicago, Illinois

    1989

    • Pollock-Krasner Award

    1986–89

    • Tuition Remission, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Exhibitions & Presentations

    SOLO EXHIBITIONS

    2019

    • “Safe House,” Sala Uno, Rome, Italy

    2018

    • “Safe House,” University of Maine Museum, Maine
    • “Home is a foreign country,” Lesley Heller, New York

    2016

    • “The Shelf Life of Facts,” The MAC, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    • Galerie Euleeulenspiegal, Basel, Switzerland (Helen O’ leary and Hanibal Srouji), Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland

    2015

    • “Delicate Negotiations,” Lesley Heller Gallery, NY

    2013

    • “Refusal,” Wexford Art Centre, Wexford Opera, Wexford, Ireland

    2012

    • “The shape of disappointment,” The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
    • “Grand,” The Custom House Quay Gallery, Wesport, County Mayo

    2011

    • “where things settle,” Colemanburke Gallery, New York, New York

    2010

    • “where things settle,” Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France

    2009

    • “Things you do,” Beverly Art Centre, Chicago, Illinois

    2008

    • “something for nothing,” Oklahoma State University
    • “the thing is,” UNCG, Greensboro, The Gatewood Gallery

    2006

    • University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
    • “The Dock,” Leitrim, Ireland

    2005

    • VCA, Melbourne, Australia

    2004

    • “In India,” with Katie Holten, Sanskriti Foundation, New Dehli
    • “In India,” Monaghan Musuem of Art, Monaghan, Ireland

    2002

    “the way things are,” Linnenhall, Castlebar, County Mayo

    1999

    • Michael Gold Gallery, New York, New York

    1995

    • Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

    1993

    • Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago

    GROUP EXHIBITIONS

    2019

    • “The Adjacent Possible,” Muscarele Museum of Art, Williamsburg, Virginia. Curated by Elizabeth Mead
    • “Materialized,” Hampden Gallery, Amherst, Massachusetts. Curated by Suzan Shutan
    • “Cinque Mostre,” The American Academy in Rome, Italy
    • “Unforeseeable thereness,” Stanek Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • “Dance with me,” Zurcher Gallery, New York, New York. Curated by Kyle Staver

    2018

    • “OZIO,” Taylor Gallery, Dublin with Janet Mullarney and Natalie Maier
    • “Assembled,” Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, California. Julia Couzens, Cornelia Shulz, and Helen O’ Leary

    2017

    • “IMMA,” Dublin, Ireland, Hennessy Award
    • “Becoming American,” Gallery E. Curated by Fionn Meade and Mary Coyne Fenderesky

    2016

    • Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    • “Nasty Women,” Pallas Studios, Dublin, Ireland
    • American Academy of Arts and Letters, Invitational Spring Show, New York, New York

    2015

    • “Building with a view, experiments in architecture New Orleans The Marmite Prize,” Contemporary Art Centre, shortlist exhibition, Block 336, London, United Kingdom
    • Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    • “Family Ties,” 500x Gallery, Texas curated by Julie Torres
    • Momenta Art Gallery, Brooklyn, New York

    2014

    • “When Dreams become Promises,” UP Down Gallery, Kent, United Kingdom. Curated by Cedric Christie

    2013

    • “Lacuna,” Taylor Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
    • “Muddle Kingdom,” IAC, New York with Vona Groake and Irene Butler and Eva O’ Leary
    • “Numberless Dreams,” Hamilton Gallery, Sligo, Ireland

    2012

    • Catherine Hammond Gallery, Ireland
    • “Amid a Space Between,” SFMOMA Artist Gallery, San Francisco, California
    • Galerie Eulenspiegel, Basel, Switzerland

    2010

    • “The Nature of things,” Galerie le Petit Port, Leiden, The Netherlands

    2009

    • Sydney SNO Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia
    • “Non_Objective,” created by Mark Joyce, traveling to Leiden, The Netherlands 2010

    2008

    • “60 x 60,” Waddingford Art Centre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    2007

    • “Cead in China,” Travelling exhibition starting in Gallery 411, Shanghai, China

    2006

    • “Feast,” HUB Galleries, Pennsylvania State University. Curated by John Bowman

    2005

    • “Artist as Travelor,” King House, Boyle, Ireland
    • “Diagogue and Diversity,” Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
    • “Leabhar Mor na Gaeilge,” Ulster Museum, Belfast
    • Trunk Show, Sirius Art Centre, Cobh, Ireland
    • Trunk Show, White Chapel, Women’s Library, London, United Kingdom

    2004

    • “Urgent,” Scott Pfaffman Gallery, New York, New York
    • Zoller gallery, In the year of an election, Penn State University, Pennsylvania
    • National Gallery of Ireland Self Portrait Collect, Limerick , Ireland

    2003

    • “Abnext,” Southbend Regional Museum of Art, Southbend, Indiana
    • “Drawing the Wall Plot,” with Katie HoltenAllegheny College, Pennsylvania
    • Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland
    • “Leabhar Mor na Gaeilge,” Glasgow Museum of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

    2002

    • Heggarty Museum of Contemporary Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • “Archipelago,” Museum Of Contemporary Art, Denver, Colorado. Curated by Ann Shostrum

    2001

    • Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Northern Ireland
    • Lavitt Gallery, Ballinglen Fellows, Cork, Ireland

    2000

    • “Stad aan Zee,” Ostende Municipal Museum, Belgium June 12-July 28 SVA,Palmer Museum of Art, State College, Pennsylvania
    • Ostende Municipal Museum, Belgium, September 9–November 10, Hosfstra University Gallery, New York
    • Michael Gold Gallery, New York
    • “Art of the State,” Paper Works, travelling show. Carrigfergus Castle, Orchard Gallery, National Photographic Archive, South Tipperary Arts Centre (catalog)
    • National Institute of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire

    1998

    • “Works on Paper,” Michael Gold Gallery, New York, New York
    • David Beitzel, Skowhegan Show, New York, New York

    1997

    • RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin

    1996

    • Limerick City Gallery, Limerick, Ireland
    • Art Space, New Haven, Connecticut. Curated by Bill Arning Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

    1995

    • Gallery 450, New York, New York
  • Publications & Presentations

    2018

    • Hill, Robin, “Assembled but not resembling at Patricia Sweetow,” Tow Coats of Paint October
    • Dunne, Aidan, “Art in Focus,” Irish Times, September 29
    • Dunne, Aidan, “The importance of idleness and interaction,” The Irish Times, October 9
    • McCoy, Ann, “HELEN O’LEARY: Home is a Foreign Country.” The Brooklyn Rail, June 5 (online)
    • “Hennessy Art Fund 2018: Helen O’Leary on ‘dissembling painting’.” RTE, May 29 (online)
    • “Hennessy reveals four artists selected for Art Fund at IMMA.” Buzz.ie, May 11. (online)
    • Cotter, Holland. “10 Galleries to Visit Now on the Lower East Side.” The New York Times, April 26: C16
    • Yaniv, Etty. “Helen O’Leary: No Place for Certainty.” Art Spiel, 24 April, 2018. (online)
    • Burns, Emily. “Interview with Helen O’Leary.” Maake Magazine, March 6. (online)

    2017

    • Eckhardt Kohler, William. “Helen O’Leary at The Irish Art Center.” Huffington Post, December 6. (online)
    • Pilkington, Alison. “Texture of a Medium.” The Visual Artists’ News Sheet Online, August 31. (online)

    2014

    • Butler, Sharon. “Ideas and Influences: Helen O’Leary.” Two Coats of Paint, October 12. (online)

    2013

    • Helen O’ leary Irregular Activity, Catherine Hammond Gallery, by Sarah Baume Visual Arts News sheet

    1993

    • McCracken, Davis, “New O’Leary Works Strike Dynamic Balance,” Chicago Tribune, June 18