Artist Talk

Artist Talk: Eilís O’Connell

The Kings Room

Free Talk
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West Dean College, in partnership with Cass Sculpture Foundation, is pleased to announce an exhibition of four sculptures by Eilís O'Connell. To celebrate the installation, O'Connell will give an artist's talk, discussing her sculptural practice in general and the works on display in the gardens.

O'Connell explores a plethora of materials and processes in her work. She hoards found objects, such as discarded agricultural tools and dairy vessels, which eventually find their way into her sculpture or become an inspiration for form or texture. She teases extraordinary forms out of various materials, from stone and rubber, steel cord and sheet metal, glass and plaster for casting in bronze. O'Connell looks to archaeology, architecture and geometry, as well as smaller objects and materials, for beginnings to her large and small works. She has recently started using fibreglass, usually reserved for building yachts and boats, in order to create graceful organic shapes, reminiscent of natural forms and familiar objects. O'Connell has long held an interest in forms that confound the natural and artificial.

The refined yet organic shapes of imatra stones and concretions - geologic structures often confused with fossils - are often used as the departure point for her sculptures. Imatra stones often develop over centuries, when minerals precipitate within rock cavities or build up around a nucleus, such as a pebble or shell, and evolve into a tacked disc shape. O'Connell is fascinated by such complex natural processes, which exist on a minute scale, and which she magnifies to provide a new perspective on their usually negligible existence.

Eilís O'Connell was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1953. She studied at Crawford School of Art, Cork 1970-74; Massachusetts College of Art, Boston 1974-75 and again at Crawford 1975-77. She currently divides her time between London and Cork in the Republic of Ireland.

The Kings Room, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. 5.30 - 7pm


Eilís O’Connell Squareball, 2008 Photo: Barney Hindle © Cass Sculpture Foundation
Eilís O’Connell Conetwirl, 2008 Photo: Barney Hindle © Cass Sculpture Foundation
Eilís O’Connell Stem, 2008 Photo: Barney Hindle © Cass Sculpture Foundation
Eilís O’Connell Curve to Point, 2008 Photo: Barney Hindle © Cass Sculpture Foundation