Alana O’Hern’s large-scale oil and mixed media paintings bring the electricity of color to careful realism. Working often with a palette knife on canvases several feet high, O’Hern creates incredibly close-up images that are both intimate and confrontational in their nearness. Each sitter is lost in a unique, delicately shaded emotion. However, they all meet the viewer’s gaze head-on, unafraid to share either themselves or the present moment with their audience. O’Hern paints both global icons and her own anonymous acquaintances, without making any visual distinction between the two. Despite the assertive composition, she depicts expression and detail with gentleness and attentiveness. The colors seem especially sensitive to emotional nuance. They dip in and out of exaggeration and fancy to pick out the inner life of the portrait’s subject. The canvases are usually square, suggesting the self-sufficient, stable world that every one of us creates around ourselves.
Alana O’Hern was born in Perth, Australia and today lives in Orlando, Florida. Among her greatest artistic influences are Sebastian Kruger and Lucien Freud, and her own two children.