MEG LEARY

portfolio > more portfolio

Artist Statement

I began singing classical music as a young child and trained in operatic vocal techniques for many years before shifting to visual art and performance. Through my training in classical music and experience with live art, I discovered that what interests me about the human voice is not WHAT it can say, but HOW it is said- what Roland Barthes calls the “grain of the voice." I developed my performances as vehicles to explore the ways the human voice evokes the corporal body as well as its capacity to transmit information including emotion, meaning, identity, and physical space through sound.

My art resides in a space of trans-disciplinary influence. While it is most firmly rooted in the history of live visual art, I work across genres and materials using multiple modes of creation including sound, music, performance, video, fiber arts and sculpture. With performance as a lens to develop conceptual ideas, my work lives on as a combination of collective memory, objects, photographs, sound recordings and video documentation. The objects and performances work in tandem to illustrate my ideas and create art that addresses social, aesthetic and emotional concerns as well as describes political and social possibilities.

The unifying theme of the work is an evocation of the body through sound techniques and music materials. I use electronic effects, cassette tapes, vinyl records, microphones, speakers and extended vocal techniques to metaphorically dislocate the voice from the live body in order to highlight its presence- evoking the body rather than describing it. By applying music theory strategies like repetition, harmony, feedback, counterpoint, remixing, improvisation and modulation in the service of visual art creation, I explore the physical and aural characteristics of objects, people and spaces.