Five of Diane O’Leary’s paintings will be on display at the Garibaldi Museum from May 2 through the end of July. Jerry Underwood has graciously offered his these paintings to the Museum for the public to enjoy during the summer. Stop by and see them for yourself.
A little bit about Diane taken from Askart.com:
A member of the Comanche Indian tribe, Diane O’Leary became a painter of subjects reflecting her Native American culture, especially the life of women. She is also a printmaker and fiber artist. She attended school in Fort Worth, Texas, and then went to schools at Texas Christian University and Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma where her family was located. She was much influenced by Dick West, director of the college art department, and by Acee Blue Eagle, a Pawnee/Creek Indian painter whom she met while working as a program director at the local television station.
After Bacone College, O’Leary moved to California where she attended Stanford University, focusing on physics and Native American Studies. An advisor told her that women were unlikely to have a career in physics, so O’Leary audited classes in physics and took an M.A. Degree in southwest archaeology. She took another M.A. Degree from Harvard University.
Having been denied an open door in a subject where she had talent and interest, she dedicated much future energy including art expression to issues about equality and dignity of women and appreciation of their potential. For a period of time, she worked at Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico as part of the research for development of the Gulf Diving Bell, which was the first exploration equipment for underwater use.
Then she moved to Taos, New Mexico and studied with Eric Gibberd and Emil Bisttram, a teacher devoted to abstract painting. Occasionally she and these men visited Georgia O’Keeffe at Ghost Ranch.
Some of O’Leary’s earliest painting subjects were images of the lives of Indian women pridefully going about domestic tasks such as making fiber. Her acrylic painting, The Walking Wheel, (ca. 1970), she regards as a “personal tribute to these women.” (132) Observing these women spinning, knitting and rug making, she became especially interested in textiles.
When O’Leary was in her early 30s, she began to have symptoms of dystonia, a neurological disease that caused tremors in head and hands. In 1988, she gave up painting and turned exclusively to working with fiber. Moving to the Northwest, she apprenticed to Marial Wilson, fiber artist, and took classes from weavers who worked with looms. These changes of place and direction including an M.A. in textiles, gave her a new direction in life.