Emma O’Hara

BIOGRAPHY

Emma O’Hara is a visual artist based in Cork City, Ireland. She graduated with a BA majoring in Printmaking in Contemporary Practice from the Limerick School of Art and Design (2016). O’Hara was awarded the Cork Printmakers 12-month Bursary (2016) where she has continued to hone & expand her visual practice. She has exhibited in numerous National and International exhibitions and he work has been collected by a number of private and public collections including the OPW. Emma was also the recipient of the 2021 Arts Council Agility award.

O’Hara’s most recent Solo exhibition “One who walks the clouds” took place in Hang Tough Contemporary in August 202

ARTIST STATEMENT

Over the past year O’Hara’s work has evolved from structured screen prints of environments to a more elusive and intuitive representation of landscape. In March 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland caused studios to be closed compelling artists to re-examine their practices and how they make work. O’ Hara was no exception and took the opportunity to expand her knowledge base and experiment with new processes and techniques in order to remain creative. This combined with the lack of interaction with landscape over the past year has pushed O’Hara to produce a new body of work. Presented as a dreamlike journey through unfamiliar jungles, this new work emphasises the longing felt by many throughout the pandemic to submerge oneself within the landscape. O’ Hara generously grants the viewer access to her own experiences allowing them to explore and experience new while highlighting the necessity of the landscape and our obligation to protect it.

The work depicts lush and verdant, fantasy landscapes that evoke a sense of the sublime, nostalgia and wanderlust through immersive paintings, vivid paper works and ceramic vessels.  These imagined paradises exist outside of any particular time or space allowing a more visceral experience that creates a sense of reverie and suspended sensation. The work explores the relationship between desire and dreams, culminating in ferociously lucid, imaginary landscapes. The work conjures the memory of a landscape rather than a specific site. The scale of the work draws the viewer into the landscape and by proxy into the memory. The spontaneity of the marks flowing over the surface suggest movement within the landscape itself, further immersing the viewer in the fantasy. All the while, colour and abstraction are used to remind the viewer that this is a dream, a subtle gesture that aims to highlight the urgency of our current environmental crisis and the danger posed to our natural environment.