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The space you left Behind

by Kirsty OLeary-Leeson

Landscape is a portrait of the soul”

I explore the spaces we exist in, both physical and psychological. I use the landscape which surrounds me as a metaphor for my inner life of imagination and emotion. The material and immaterial are not separate but are reliant on each other to create meaning in our lived reality.

Drawing dominates my practice at present as the media most compliments and mirrors my subject matter, which is expressing facets of our existence. In drawing there is a relation with the provisional and unfinished, it exists in a state of suspense so connecting it with the lived life experience.

Drawing records the unfolding of an event, not the fixed reality of an object. It is a dialogue between our thoughts and our experience of the real; drawing has always been aligned with thinking and ideas, it has as much to do with reflection as with observation.
I draw what I know and experience not just what I see. These are not drawings from life, but drawings of life; drawing the relation between the visible and the invisible.

The fragmentary nature of the images reflects that although we live a linear existence, what we currently experience is altered by memories and expectations, our present being created by these absent moments. The sharp contrasts also convey emotion and induce contemplation in the viewer; they suggest a theme of constant change as the eye moves through the transitioning spaces of constructed and negative spaces.








Norwich University College of the Arts      BA Hons Contemporary Fine Art: 1st Class              

Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design    HND, Graphic Design: Illustration                                     
Royal Society of Marine Artists:  Mall Galleries, London
Natural Selection: Espacio Gallery, London
After The Monet: Coningsby Gallery, London
State Of The Art: Hobart Gallery, Blickling Hall, Norfolk

Elements: Quad, Derby 
NCAS 12, Norwich
Savorr vii, Norwich
Show Me The Monet: The Mall Galleries, London
Landscapes Past and Present: Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham, London  
Contemporary Drawing: The Assembly House, Norwich

The Rocket House, Cromer
Greyfriars Art Space, Kings Lynn
Facing Hard Times    (commendation received for Gathering Storm) 
Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society, The Forum, Norwich 
Elements: Material Worlds      

Stew Gallery, Norwich   
Shades of Grey       
Stew Gallery, Norwich 
Nicholson Gallery, Holt, Norfolk      
Print and New Media
Unit 5 Gallery, Norwich

NUCA Gallery, Norwich
Impulse Response   

International Collaborative Portfolio ‘Market’
Limited edition prints: Kissing Celluloid                                                               
2011  Finalist in the Saatchi Drawing Showdown
2009  Shortlisted for the John Riches Award for Drawing     
         Norwich University College of the Arts       

2012  Scope Magazine    

World Wildlife Fund
Conran Octupus Publishers
Marshall Pickering
Souvenir Press
Pandora (Harper Collins)


Originally I trained as an illustrator and worked in publishing, however in 2009 after having spent some time raising more children than is really sensible I decided to escape from the Playground Mafia and I returned to Art college to study Fine Art. I graduated with a First Class degree in 2011 from Norwich University of the Arts. Since then I have exhibited widely in my home county of Norfolk as well as in Cambridge, Twickenham, Derby and London. I have been a finalist in the International Saatchi Drawing Showdown, featured in series 2 of the BBC 2 Programme 'Show Me the Monet' and was Visual Art Trader’s Artist of the Month, they wrote of my work:  "The senses of emotional uncertainty, of time evaporating and of forgotten memories in Kirsty's drawings are made all the more powerful by the beautiful and precise execution of the images." 




Natural Selection: Espacio Gallery, London E2 7DG