Morgan O'Hara

April 21 - May 3, 2016
Opening reception Thursday April 21, 6:00pm

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LIVE TRANSMISSION: attention and performative drawing.
Morgan O'Hara's LIVE TRANSMISSION drawings track, in real time, the vital movement of living beings, transcending both figuration and abstraction, executing a direct neural translation from one human action into another. Drawing methodically with multiple razor-sharp pencils and both hands, as performative drawing, O'Hara condenses movement into accumulations of graphite line which combine the controlled refinement of classical drawing with the unbound sensuality of spontaneous gesture. Time-space coordinates for each drawing are described with the most unexpected precision in the titles.
The most immediate sign of life is movement. LIVE TRANSMISSIONS render visible normally invisible or fleeting movement patterns through seismograph-like drawing done in real time. The pursuit of vitality carefully observed through human activity is drawn simultaneously with both hands and transmitted to paper. Following closely the intensity of each segment of an activity, the direction of a line as well as the quality of its intensity is transmitted. If a person makes a gentle movement, a delicate line is drawn. If the action followed is forceful or violent, a correspondingly vigorous line is made. This is done simultaneously and as much as possible without "thinking". This is not automatic drawing, but its opposite, requiring great concentration and focus.
Begun in 1989, this temporal-spatial-gestural archive of human activity bridging the twentieth and twenty-first centuries now numbers approximately 3,000 drawings. On occasion other signs of life are also drawn: movement of leaves on a tree, light reflections on water, of animals on a farm, movement of the incoming tide, whatever presents itself in a given moment. A selected list of LIVE TRANSMISSION subjects follows: cooks, pastry chefs, noodle factory workers, secretaries, butchers, shoemakers, mattress makers, dancers; musicians: soloists, ensembles, bands, orchestras, conductors; poets, artists, performers, lecturers, incense makers, politicians, architects, doctors, psychiatrists, artisans, children, athletes, farmers and martial artists.
Morgan O'Hara was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Japan, earned a Master's Degree in Art from California State University at Los Angeles, had her first solo exhibition in the Musee Cantonal des Beaux Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1978. She began working internationally in performance art festivals in 1989, did her first site specific wall drawings at De Fabriek in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and began the practice of the Japanese martial art, aikido, in the same year.
Teaches master classes in drawing and the psychology of creativity in art academies in the US, Europe and Asia. O'Hara has done many international residencies including two sessions at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. She is recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Gottleib Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, David and Rosamond Putnam Travel Fund and the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation. Her work is in the permanent collections of many institutions, including: Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas; Czech National Gallery, Prague; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California; Hood Museum of Art - Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; Janacek Museum, Brno, Czech Republic; Macau Art Museum, Macau, China; Moravian Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Olomouc Museum of Art, Czech Republic; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Vrie Universiteit OZW, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Wannieck Gallery, Brno, Czech Republic; Weatherspoon Gallery, Greensboro, North Carolina. Her permanent site specific wall drawings can be found in the Macau Art Museum, Macau, China; The Canadian Academy Kobe, Japan, and the Free University OZW Building, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Lived in Italy for 21 years. O'Hara became a member of the Elizabeth Foundation in 2010.