ING Unseen Talent Award: Eva O'Leary

by Unseen November 13 2018

Images: Neighbors, 2018 © Eva O'Leary

Eva O’Leary (b. 1989, IE)
Eva O’Leary (IE, 1989) received a BFA from the California College of the Arts in 2012, and a MFA from Yale in 2016. She was the recipient of the Hyères Festival Photographie Grand Prix in 2018, the Vontobel Contemporary Photography Prize in 2017, and was named a Foam Talent in 2014. O’Leary has had three solo exhibitions in 2017: Happy Valley, Meyohas, New York ; Concealer, Vontobel, Zurich and Spitting Image, Crush Curatorial, New York.

O'Leary’s lively images focus on the perception of mainstream media and the effect this has on society and on the artist herself. Through her work, O'Leary poses questions about feminism, heritage and personal identity.

Artist Statement
Growing up between Pennsylvania and Ireland, my sense of identity was tested twice a year as I was forced to acclimate to a new culture. Today, much of my work questions what is deemed acceptable or natural within a particular community, and how these agreed upon norms often function as a method of social control. These images, made in rural Pennsylvania, bring together a digital world of consumption and surveillance with the physical space, rooted in the absurdity and terror of late capitalism. I wanted to make unsettling photographs of a culture that is both uncomfortable and familiar - fear of the future is palpable here - through extreme alcohol consumption, conspicuous wealth, incredible debt and violence.