But her passion quickly shifted after taking a course on lithography, in which artists burn images into limestone using acid. Now she is more than happy to call herself a print- and paper-maker.
“Not only does it allow me to be more creative, but printmaking and papermaking is its own art community,” O’Leary explained. “When I painted I could be in my studio all alone for hours. But with printmaking you are sharing studio space and equipment, and you are always meeting new people. That was a big hook for me.”
It was that community environment that led O’Leary to meet fellow students Fatima Albudoor and Elissa von Walter, both AMD’14. All three are the featured artists in Gallery 360’s new exhibit, “A Brief Stay: Print & Paper Show.”
The exhibit’s pieces were selected from the students’ senior theses and include collagraph, monotype, and wood cut. The artwork is currently hung on the walls of the hallway between Ell Hall and the Curry Student Center.
The artists, as well as family, friends, and members of the Northeastern art community, attended the exhibit’s opening reception on Wednesday evening. “We are excited about the show,” said Albudoor, who is originally from Dubai.
Albudoor included photos of her family in several of her monotype pieces in the exhibit, noting that, “It’s a way of preserving the relationships.”
One of the pieces O’Leary selected from her portfolio is titled “Twelve Skeletons.” It features 12 used plates on a shelf, with a piece of handmade paper wrapped around each one.
She said she wanted to see what would happen to the paper once it dried around the plates. Most of the paper cracked and tore, revealing the nicks and marks on the dishes left by past diners. But on a couple plates the paper remained in tact, concealing what O’Leary called their “history.”
“I wanted to see what the paper would do holding this new object,” she said. “A lot of this is trying to elevate a mundane object to something you can look at in a new way.”
Since its inception in 2007, the partnership between Northeastern and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts has offered students the opportunity to pursue a bachelor of fine arts or master of fine arts in studio art. Students take studio art courses at the museum and academic courses at Northeastern.