Joya: AiR / Hillel O'Leary / USA


'There is a longing here. 

The topography has been molded into a vessel. It bends to the will of water, and forever awaits its return. 

Ruins sit forgotten along sun-bleached banks. Their doors are still open.

There is a lonely mountain in the distance. It is a haze tethered somewhere between solidity and ether, and I visit with it every morning to be sure this balance has not tipped. We have an unspoken agreement that there will be nothing without substance, and nothing too substantial for its own good.

There is a palpable stillness, an enveloping, ever-present silence that flows beneath the sand and clay. It is a kind of sonic negative space whose perimeter is loosely defined by winding stories, and punctuated with sudden fits of laughter.

Maybe it is all a mirage. Another spaghetti western fiction where names are not terribly important, and actions, if they can be proven, are the true measure of one’s worth. (We ate spaghetti in fact last night. It was quite good).

No, it is quite real, quite essential. A place where one who is willing can pare down the tangential outgrowth of a developing art practice, and return to the centre of making. The core of being. 

Here, the water has come back

The house is full'.

Hillel O’Leary is a New York sculptor whose work deals in place, time, and belonging.

He is a recent graduate of the Penn State sculpture MFA program, and he holds a bachelor’s degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. 

His recent work has been featured in the US and internationally, including exhibitions as part of the Digital Stone Project in Italy’s Tuscany region.