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"BY THE SAME SEA,
HOMES OF THE IRISH DIASPORA"
PAINTINGS BY MAUREEN O'LEARY
15.5 x 20 cm
Limited edition book.
Hard cover, thread binding
150 numbered copies.
Price: 35 euro - US$ 40 - 32 GBP
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I am a painter who focuses on the quotidian. Mundane scenes and objects - trees, homes, cars, the night,
and people, mostly family, are the basis for my experimentation with the application of paint as a response
to light and shadow. An ongoing project of mine has been painting ordinary American houses in my Long
Island neighborhood, a suburban community outside of New York. These houses interest me not only because
they are each unremarkable and repeat in shape and design, but because they also offer many opportunities
to paint the effects of light and how it breaks a landscape into major shapes, graphically linking buildings
to the landscape.
I have more recently come to reflect on this body of work as related to my own ethnicity as an Irish American
because the houses I am painting are the houses of people of the Irish diaspora. All through my
are Americans with names that reveal Irish ancestry. I think often of the metaphor embodied in New York City's
Irish Hunger Memorial: it upholds the symbol of a house, transported stone by stone from Mayo, as the icon
of the most tragic period of Irish emigration. That memorial is testimony that the quotidian speaks to history.
Observing the new homes, centuries later, the product of escape and rebirth from this horrible tragedy, has
inspired this body of work. Long Island homes and western Ireland homes remain, geographically, each
other's first and last points of contact, separated only the by Atlantic Ocean. These two sets of homes form
an Irish-American continuum, a metaphorical neighborhood. The small homes that ramble over hills in
neighborhoods visible from commuter trains and car windows for a hundred miles in several directions outside
of New York City are the effigies of new life. The small scale of these paintings references windows and
the contemplation windows afford people on common commuter trains going to or from New York City.
The homes represent a departure from the place where immigration begins, the city, to new, more permanent
places of living on its outskirts.
Exhibition at the Custom House, Westport, 2023 - By the same sea, homes of the Irish diaspora
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Maureen O'Leary is a painter who also works in photography. She has exhibited in the United States, Europe
and Asia, with recent shows at Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York, New York, the Ely Center of Contemporary
Art, New Haven, Connecticut, the Palazzina Liberty, Bologna, Italy, and Art Lab Tokyo/Akiba, Tokyo,
Japan. A past recipient of the Harriet Hale Woolley Fellowship in painting from the Cité Internationale
Universitaire de Paris, she has a B.S. from Yale College and trained at the Art Students League and the
International Center for Photography in New York. Her work has been reviewed in The Washington Post,
The Brooklyn Rail and New York Magazine and is in private and public collections including the Fondation des
Etats-Unis, Paris, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank,
and Fidelity Bank of Boston.
She is represented by the Cristin Tierney gallery in New York.
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