"Helen O'Leary's show, up at the Irish Art Center on 51st St through Jan. 5th, is titled The Geometry of Dirt. It is comprised of works that straddle painting and sculpture. Grounded in an ethos of work, sweat and hard fought emotional truth, they convey, at the same time, spiritual and aesthetic transcendence. O'Leary, who grew up in rural Ireland, County Wexford, begins with her boots planted in that soil as she conceives the work from a narrative consciousness of her story growing up in that place. They also contain the physical history of her artistic practice.
"My new work delves into my own history as a painter, rooting in the ruins and failures of my own studio for both subject matter and raw material. I have disassembled the wooden structures of previous paintings -- the stretchers, panels, and frames -- and have cut them back to rudimentary hand-built slabs of wood, glued and patched together, their history of being stapled, splashed with bits of paint, and stapled again to linen clearly evident." "