Biography

The LIVE TRANSMISSION drawings are a record, performed in real time, of the vital movement of living beings. They transcend both figuration and abstraction. I draw methodically with multiple razor-sharp pencils and both hands, as time-based performance, executing a direct neural transmission from one human action into another. I condense movement into accumulations of graphite line, which combine the controlled refinement of classical drawing with the unbound sensuality of spontaneous gesture. Time-space coordinates for each drawing are described with precision in the titles.

The most immediate sign of life is movement. LIVE TRANSMISSIONS render visible normally invisible or fleeting movement patterns through seismograph-like drawing done in real time. The pursuit of vitality carefully observed through human activity is drawn simultaneously with both hands and transmitted to paper. Following closely the intensity of each segment of an activity, the direction of a line as well as the quality of its intensity is transmitted. If a person makes a gentle movement, a delicate line is drawn. If the action followed is forceful or violent, a correspondingly vigorous line is made. This is done simultaneously and as much as possible without “thinking”. This is not automatic drawing, but its opposite, requiring great concentration and focus.

Begun in 1989, this temporal-spatial-gestural archive of human activity bridging the twentieth and twenty-first centuries now numbers approximately 3,000 drawings.  On occasion other signs of life are also drawn: movement of leaves on a tree, light reflections on water, of animals on a farm, movement of the incoming tide, whatever presents itself in a given moment. A selected list of LIVE TRANSMISSION subjects follows: cooks, pastry chefs, noodle factory workers, secretaries, butchers, shoemakers, mattress makers, dancers; musicians: soloists, ensembles, bands, orchestras, conductors; poets, artists, performers, lecturers, incense makers, politicians, architects, doctors, psychiatrists, artisans, children, athletes, farmers and martial artists.  - Morgan O'Hara

Morgan O'Hara, born in Los Angeles, was raised in Japan and then returned to the US, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Art from California State University, Los Angeles. She had her first solo exhibition in the Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1978. She began working internationally in performance art festivals in 1989. That same year, she created her first site specific wall drawings at De Fabriek in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

O’Hara teaches classes in drawing and the psychology of creativity in art academies and institutions in the US, Europe and Asia. She has completed many international residencies, including two sessions at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. She has been the recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Gottleib Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, David and Rosamond Putnam Travel Fund and the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation.

Her work is in the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Arkansas Art Center (AR), Prague National Gallery (Czech Republic), Hammer Museum (CA), Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College (NH), the National Gallery of Art (DC) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY). Her permanent site specific wall drawings can be found in the Macau Art Museum (Macau, China), The Canadian Academy (Kobe, Japan) and the Free University OZW Building (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). She now lives and works in New York City.