The slippage between the real and imaginary, time and timelessness, place and nowhere.
Images of O’Hara as a girl, from a time that is just before one’s conscious memory of childhood, become a girl character in a world caught between her reality, set in the domestic environment, and her fantasy world of story and play. In a sense this period of childhood exists only in the form of photographic evidence, which can take on new meanings and be reinterpreted in the present.
The presence of animals in their physical and symbolic form in fairytales feeds into this work. In one series of prints these dangerous animals inhabit the same ambiguous space as the little girl. There is a feeling that they happily live alongside each other without ever blatantly acknowledging each other’s presence.
The forest is an important symbol in her work, often used as the setting to fairytales to represent the darker and hidden (to the child) side of life. O’Hara uses it with these connotations in mind. The forest sets a horizon-less background with no known outcome or way out. Domestic furniture placed in this setting takes on an uncanny nature.