If Only My Wishes Could Fly Like Birds
Kathleen O’Hara
September 30 - November 8, 2019
Reception with the Artist: October 29, 5-7pm
Carole Calo Gallery, Stonehill College, Easton MA

Kathleen O’Hara’s installation is a meditation on memory and the remnants of shared correspondence. Influenced by her family’s greeting card business, she has transformed the Carole Calo Gallery into an homage to this history and the relics of civil communiqué. More than a sentimental remembrance, she takes the handicraft of pre-digital communication and has created a new body of work that plays on her keen eye for design, text and imagery, combined with uncanny allure. Inspired by her family’s vintage greeting card albums from the 1940’s, she plays with nostalgic materials such as contact paper, label makers, and stencils to source the deep psychology of longing and being understood.

O’Hara partly recreates the company’s 1970’s showroom in New York City with a large constructed wall featuring her handmade wallpaper, drawings using vintage card imagery, and inset framed works. Also included in the gallery are a series of glitter Rorschach drawing/collages, and a grid of 5x7” text panels with phrases extracted from greeting card wishes. In the center of the gallery, one of the original vintage albums is on a pedestal.

Collectively, each area of the installation reminds us to remember to remember. The exchange of greeting cards is emblematic of our need to connect and communicate. In our time of digital and personally-removed correspondence that truncates emotions to fast bits of light, O’Hara’s work asks us to pause and ponder with a wink—or nod, to our momentary place in the here and now.
–Candice Smith Corby

Above: Kathleen O'Hara, Wishes (detail), 2019, mixed media on 5x7” birch panels