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SCAD alumna combines multiple mediums to test new artistic concept

  • Maggie O’Hara (American, b. 1991), stills from “This Is Me Crying,” 2017, 1920 x 1080 HD Video. (Courtesy of Maggie O’Hara)
 

SCAD alumna combines multiple mediums to test new artistic concept

26 Jul 2017

Multimedia artist Maggie Mullin O’Hara says her work “borrows from a number of traditions of various mediums.”

“Both of my degrees (a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts) are in photography,” O’Hara said. “However, my work has shifted from a focus on traditional, straight photography, to some hybrid form that borrows from the mediums of video, performance, photography, installation, sculpture and interactive works. Maybe this seems like a lot, but it really isn’t.”

The Pittsburgh native is now based in the South, specifically Columbia, S.C., and Savannah, and has a new exhibit, “I’m Trying to Tell You,” that will open July 27 at the Jepson Center. On opening day, O’Hara will also have a free artist talk at 6 p.m. to discuss this exhibition which is part of the Telfair Museums’ #art912 initiative that promotes artists from Savannah.

And while she says she still isn’t sure what she will discuss for her artist talk, she says the event will be a Q&A-style event between the curator of the show, Erin Dunn, and herself.

O’Hara goes on to describe her recent body of work by explaining her use of video as a tool for “capturing (and) documenting a performance or an act that is executed in front of the camera, which is always still and on a tripod, referencing the traditions of the medium of photography.

“The work finds itself within the context of installation art through the various ways in which it is exhibited,” O’Hara said. “I’m very interested in the capability to control and transform the way the work is experienced by its viewers based on the space in which it is being realized. The work is sculptural in various ways.”

She explains that “I’m Trying to Tell You” will feature a 12-analog-TV sculptural piece, in which the TVs are arranged, stacked and positioned within the space in a very deliberate way, referencing the art of sculpture.

“Additionally, three analog lenticular LED light boxes will be included in this show as well … (and) through their hand-made technique, also reference sculpture. Finally, there will be an interactive/viewer performative piece in which I ask viewers and guests to participate in the creation or destruction of a piece.”

She says the concepts and ideas behind the work displayed in “I’m Trying to Tell You” came from a combination of older works from her MFA thesis work at Savannah College of Art and Design (titled “Gestures of Persistence”) and newer works which in ways function as both a departure from and expansion of her older works.

“So, I don’t think I ever really came up with a concept for this show, but rather, it is a meshing of both older and newer works, which came to being from pushing the ideas and concepts of past work in new and different directions.

“The newer works, for me, served as a sort of therapy through their creation over the course of the past year in which they were executed. I realized how the art of performance could be therapeutic after I had completed ‘Gestures of Persistence.’

“At this point, I was really interested in this idea of finding solace or healing through the act and art of performance, and the newer pieces from ‘I’m Trying to Tell You’ really, really push and test this concept.”

While O’Hara is not currently exhibiting in other spaces in Savannah, she says she is open to future opportunities and collaborations with artists.

“Plus, Savannah will always hold a very special place in my heart in regard to the arts in general, and the development of my own artistic vision and style.”

IF YOU GO

What: “I’m Trying to Tell You” Artist Talk and Reception

When: 6 p.m. July 27

Where: Jepson Center, 207 W. York St.

Cost: Free

Info: telfair.org; maggiemullinohara.com

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