Deborah O’Grady Biography2018-06-19T19:01:06+00:00

BIOGRAPHY

Deborah O’Grady is a fine art photographer and videographer with exhibitions and commissions from Stockholm to Buenos Aires and Washington DC to California. She has collaborated extensively with orchestras, including with the Saint Louis Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the United States Navy Band, creating live-synced video projections to accompany performances of Olivier Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars.

O’Grady’s career in photography, spanning more than three decades, centers around the landscapes of the western United States. Many bodies of work represent an exploration of the rural landscapes of northern California, often seen within the context of native mythology (Pomo and Lake Miwok traditional stories, collected in the early 20th century by anthropologists working at UC Berkeley) and the pioneer experiences of an early settler, Susanna Roberts Townsend.

  • Talking Lake; placed photographs within a multi-layered sound installation by composer Mark Grey, created from soundscapes, interviews and readings of texts.
  • crossings/fragments; continues the linking of image and text, weaving Susanna Townsend’s scanned letters (written in a grid of criss-crossing script as a paper saving technique referred to as “crossing”) and scans of the ethnographic transcriptions of Pomo myths collected by S.A. Barrett, into the landscapes.
  • dreaming coyote, dreaming the world; commissioned by the Los AngelesPhilharmonic for their festival of California music and projected throughout the concert hall lobbies, tells the story of the creation of Clear Lake through images of dawn and the story of Coyote traveling to the east and stealing the sun.

O’Grady traveled the Navajo Nation and the Four Corners region for the creation of a video, commissioned by the Phoenix Symphony, for “Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio,” and the book “ Code TalkerStories,” oral histories and portraits of the World War II Navajo Marines whose native language was used to create an unbreakable code that helped defeat the Japanese at the close of the war. Her interest in psychological aspects of landscape has made Deborah featured presenter at the national Art & Psyche conferences. One of these talks, “Following Seeker: Landscape,Music, Myth and Transformation,” is available online: http://aras.org/sites/default/files/docs/00036OGrady.pdf. 

Deborah co-created the patented LIBRA Acoustic Image System with Meyer Sound Labs in Berkeley, California. LAIS a marriage of art and science designed to beautify the aural and visual environment of public spaces. In this format, her work may be seen in many restaurants and public spaces.

Her work has been presented in museums, galleries and concert halls worldwide, including Cologne and Mannheim, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Maryland Arts Place, Baltimore, MD; Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C.; Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, CA; Gray Loft Gallery, Oakland, CA; Berkeley Arts Festival, Berkeley, CA; San Francisco Camerawork Gallery; University of California at Davis; University of Alaska at Sitka. She has been commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony, the Sydney Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Berkeley Symphony. Other collections include The Public Policy Institute of California, Meyer Sound Labs, various medical and legal facilities, the University of Texas Harry Ransom Centerfor the Humanities, the Coyote Point Museum (now called CuriOdyssey), the Stanford University Rare Books Collection, and many private collections.