Charlie O was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. She served in the United States Airforce from 2008 through 2012 and received Airman of the Year in 2010 in the 433rd Airlift Wing. She was accepted into the Art Department at Cornish College of the Arts in 2017, receiving a B.F.A. in 2020. In Charlie’s current body of work, consisting of video projection, painting, sculpture, and installation, she explores her personal relationships within her family, focusing on patriarchal patterns within human relationships. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and museums in Texas and Washington, including: Tim Burdick Gallery, Port Aransas, Texas in 2013; Columbia Tower, Seattle, Washington in 2017; Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, Washington in 2020; Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington in 2019. Charlie received a merit scholarship from Cornish each year of her undergraduate studies. She received a partner scholarship between Pilchuck Glass School and Cornish in the summer of 2019.
I use multiple mediums to express my direct experience with disability, atypical perception, and the white male patriarchy. Calling attention to perception and perspective is very important to me. When I paint an image of a falling man, for example, I use open loose brushstrokes with bright colored pallets to enhance the viewer to spend time with the artwork. I want you to explore and see the way perspective can change the way you interact with my work and the world. My multimedia videos of falling and rising landscapes include forced perspective, to call attention to ideas about perception and reality. Changing people’s perception from what they consider “normal” is a main objective because I have learning disabilities and process information differently than the majority of the population. I am also a female in a man’s world and a disabled veteran in a world that often doesn’t see my disabilities.
The multiple intersections of my identity are important for me to touch on in my work. I want people who intersect in similar ways to pick up on them and I want others to consider the challenges of having unseen disabilities. I use forced perspective to express this and my learning differences as well, making the viewer see from the position that I choose.
I also work with sculpture making male figures that – through material choices – represent patriarchal figures in my personal life, like my dad, husband and son. These cultural male figures are chaotic or sprawling in falling postures. Every sculpture is based on my feelings and thoughts about individual patriarchal figures. I recently added a rising female figures to represent myself ascending above the glass ceiling imposed on women through a patriarchal society. I will, too.