Beasts of Burden - our complex relationship with animals

An Art Exhibition Curated by Jane O’Hara


"I create a stage for the animals' situation in each painting, often an unnatural setting to point out people's tendency to impose their own agenda. My goal is to deliver the viewer into a world where animals speak from a place of honesty about their state and the relationship of human beings to it."

Jane O'Hara gained respect for communication beyond social surfaces and words by the unique and honest relationship she shared with her brother with intellectual disabilities and her dogs. This carries forward into her work today where animals play the eternal muse. For O'Hara, the animal condition poses a duality which she finds both disturbing and intriguing—our insensitivity to animals raised in captivity and treated inhumanely, versus the casting of human traits upon pampered pets. Initially drawn in by the levity and beauty of these fabricated worlds, the viewer is then challenged with complexity.

The theme of O'Hara's work has expanded into her concept for the Beasts of Burden exhibit where 14 artists with their range of approaches capture the complex way in which animals have influenced our lives.

O'Hara has mounted solo exhibitions at the South Rotunda Gallery, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA, and Gallery 55 in Natick, MA . Selected group exhibitions include Denise Bibro Fine Art, New York, NY; Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT; William Scott Gallery, Provincetown, MA; The Animal Museum, LA, CA; upcoming, Galleri Plan B, Växjö, Sweden.

O'Hara holds a BFA in painting from Boston University. She lives and works in Little Compton, RI and West Palm Beach, FL

"O'Hara subverts conventional approaches to art based on animals... She creates a distinctive sort of animal portrait by combining realistic and vaguely surreal elements. Her subjects look anatomically correct but subtly convey feelings of foreboding, vulnerability and solitude."

Chris Bergeron of the MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, MA

Jane O'Hara

"Beasts of Burden is a timely and well conceived group exhibition that exemplifies our Curatorial Opportunity Program mission-- to investigate contemporary culture through the visual arts and make diverse curatorial visions possible. Jane O'Hara is a thoughtful, passionate and dedicated curator who has a distinct point of view and compels her audience to look at the world and its relationships as she does."

Kathleen Smith Redman
Exhibitions Director
New Art Center