Exhibition Opening: 12 January, 2–4pm.
The Butler Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition by New York based photographer Eva O’Leary, her first in Ireland.
This exhibition includes previously unseen work from her award-winning series Spitting Image, portraits of American girls, photographed through a two-way mirror as they respond to their own reflection. These images reveal the girls’ inherent discomfort at being faced with their own image in front of the lens, and the self-conscious way they, and others, present themselves for the camera.
With an Irish mother, and an American father, Eva has travelled often between the USA and Ireland. This body of work was made in the artist’s hometown in State College, Pennsylvania, also known as Happy Valley, a place that has had a profound influence on her and her work. Eva worked with over 120 female-identifying adolescents between the ages of eleven to fourteen who share her experience of coming of age in this town. The insightful portraits are honest and direct, with each sitter projecting different levels of confidence. The exhibition also includes a three-channel single video projection that captures the young girls’ apprehensive examination of their reflections in preparation for the final click of the camera.
Eva O’Leary is an artist with a distinctive vision of contemporary society, which results in work that is reflective, challenging and always compelling. This Spitting Image series goes against traditional notions of beauty and animates the vulnerability of the teenage years, drawing us into a wider consideration of the explosion of the selfie culture and the way we use photography as a tool for self-representation.