Kelley O’Leary is a multidisciplinary artist based in the Bay Area who works primarily in collage, sculpture and social practice. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the Bay Area, Los Angeles & Massachusetts. She has been awarded artist residencies at Root Division, Bullseye Glass, Collaborative Arts Mobility Project, The Jennings Hotel and Irving Street Projects, where she received a Zellerbach Family Foundation Grant for Community Arts in 2017. Kelley graduated with a B.A. in Art and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Kelley’s work explores interior emotional states and place, blurring the boundaries between individuals and their environments. When creating, she often asks, “how are these seemingly separate entities intrinsically united?”
On the exploration of food and art:
My Eyes Are Bigger, 2019
6 panels 50”x 43” | Xerox transfer on paper
How do we manage to digest the stimuli of what we see? Our eyes see more than is ever able to be absorbed. It is a hunger that drives scrolling mindlessly while my eyes consume my media diet. Conversely, there is a hunger to be seen. But can this hunger be satisfied by the eyes of strangers and distant acquaintances? How are our emotional needs met or unfulfilled by our social media landscapes? The images of the eyes in this piece are taken directly from a Google search of “eyes”. The owners of these eyes are anonymous and unknown. Eyes, the supposed ‘windows to the soul’, are reduced to stock imagery on the internet.
Lens Plate, 2019
8” Diameter | glass lens plate with pine stand
Fine sand transforms into glass at very high temperatures. This glass lens contains many tiny lenses on its surface. At one time these lenses, which create alternate ways of seeing and perceiving space, were a simple part of the earth. The viewer peers through the glass to an altered vision of the surrounding environment. Somewhere between a bowl and a plate, this piece resembles a common vessel for consuming food. Ever transforming, when we eat, we incorporate our environments with our bodies, becoming one.