Clare O'Neill is a Minnesota based artist. She began her artistic career by taking photographs of the people and places of Ireland during nearly two decades of traveling to Ireland. After a career change in 2008, she showed her first body of photographic work in 2009.
Clare O'Neill's photography has evolved over time. She began as a traditional black & white film photographer, yet her desire to bring depth and texture to her images currently guides her work. Inspired by traditional oil painters, she uses her images as a starting point to manipulate and create works with a three-dimensional quality. The images are spontaneous. They begin as high-resolution digital images; O'Neill then applies and re-applies multiple layers and textures, both digitally and with beeswax, until her interpretation of the image feels right. Clare uses rich imagery, bold brush strokes, and playful drops to create paintings full of gesture, spontaneity, and motion. It’s a labor-intensive process where the photographs are printed on tissue paper in multiple pieces, and then carefully imbedded into the layers of hot beeswax. Rendered with a dream-like haze, O'Neill's work suggests an imaginative, sensual, and provocative style. The wax adds a sense of mystery and intrigue. Each exquisite work becomes timeless, allowing the image and composition to suggest a unique quality that speaks to the viewer. Her photos etch a place in our memory with much more detail than the original out-of-the-camera image.