Eryn O’Neill | Travelling Vicariously: The High Line | March 5 - 26

Eryn O’Neill | Travelling Vicariously: The High Line | March 5 - 26

Eryn O’Neill | Travelling Vicariously: The High Line
March 5 - 26
Wall Space Gallery is proud to present Eryn O’Neill’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, Travelling Vicariously: The High Line.
The Spur, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 24 in. Framed by Wall Space

Through painting, O’Neill studies urban spaces in transition. Travelling Vicariously: The High Line draws attention to the transformation of the New York Central Railroad system into its contemporary identity as a rail trail and greenway. Historically, rail trails are created from the removal of old rail tracks subsequently transformed by pedestrian traffic into community passageways for running, walking, and enjoying nature and urban vistas. The protection and reimagining of the High Line, which opened to the public as a park in 2009, foregrounds the ways in which historical architecture can be re-valued to grow with a city in service of its community.

The works for Travelling Vicariously were created throughout repetitious lockdowns and the barrier of closed borders. For this reason, O’Neill embraced ‘visiting’ her desired location digitally, collaborating with a cross-border friend who would act as O’Neill’s eyes, recording imagery from various locations around the High Line. This exhibition features works inspired by two-years of archived imagery of New York city.

West 30th Street Entrance (Hudson Yards), oil on canvas, 40 x 48 in. Framed by Wall Space

This [exchange became] a form of support, encouragement, and positivity through a time of continual uncertainty and frustration. The motivation to create a body of work that shares a story of connectivity is at the core of this series of paintings. The process has been both creative and co-dependent, motivating each other to be productive, and sightsee under bizarre conditions, to say the least.

Thank you to the High Line staff, sponsors and caretakers for preserving such a unique urban pedestrian space.” - Eryn O’Neill

Concrete Facade, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Framed by Wall Space

O’Neill has harboured an intense interest in architecture and its influence on pedestrian experience and movement through public spaces. Her painted scenes, typically devoid of human presence, bring a keen focus to the sensation of space shaped by the brick, metal, and greenery of urban environments.

Her sensibility for architectural form extends into her ability to capture intricate plays of light and reflectivity. O’Neill’s attention to the details of shifting illumination and shadow underscore her desire to create works that not only document and record contemporary urban development, but embody the experience of physically being situated in a specific time and place. As an avid runner, O’Neill often engages with the spaces she paints on a personal level. These ‘outings’ become her research into the agency of the common body navigating everyday urban advancement.

O’Neill’s is currently pursuing her MA in Art and Architectural History at Carleton University (2022). She also holds a diploma in Curatorial Studies from Carleton University (2021). O’Neill initially pursued her art education through a BFA at NSCAD University in Halifax, NS (2008), followed by an MFA at the University of Waterloo (2018). She is a multiple Ontario Arts Council grant recipient, and a two-time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Representational Painting Award. In 2021, O’Neill’s works were collected into the City of Ottawa’s permanent Art Collection and the Global Affairs Canada collection.

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