Born in County Wexford in 1961, Helen O'Leary's work in painting and sculpture draws on her Irish background and explores with deftness, rigour and craft, the idea of origin – of how everything we subsequently become has been framed by the visual, cultural, moral and emotional lines of definition that are drawn around our formative childhood worlds.
Helen is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Dublin, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Madison, Maine. She is currently a Professor of Art at Penn State University.
She has exhibited widely around the world, including two Important Irish galleries – the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny, and the Kerlin Gallery in Dublin. Her work has also featured at the Coleman Burke Gallery in New York, the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, Zolla Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, Stad and Zee Museum, Belgium, Glasgow Museum of Art, Scotland, the Beverly Art Center in Chicago and the Sanskriti Foundation in New Delhi, India.
Her art has been honoured with two Pollock-Krasner awards and a Joan Mitchell Award for painting and sculpture. In 2010 Helen was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2016 she completed a MacDowell residency and she recently completed a Golden Foundation residency.