Shortlist 2021

Lorna Donlon

Lorna Donlon

Lorna Donlon lives and works in Dublin. She has completed studies at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin; Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland; with Archie Brennan in Washington D.C.; Lynne Curran in Tuscany; and most recently received a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from UCD in 2020. Prior to this she spent many years teaching at Grennan Mill Craft School in Kilkenny. A tapestry weaver, textile and installation artist, she is interested in the scientific practices of collecting, categorising, labelling and displaying objects.

She describes herself as a magpie who collects, orders, assembles and exhibits objects and ideas that she finds around her as she goes about her daily life. The cabinets of curiosity these objects form draw on a scientific aesthetic of classification and, together with her tapestries and collages, they explore the tradition of narrative, both objective and subjective, and question the distinction between the two. Her displays and arrangements act as storytelling devices, illustrating how storytelling is so deeply embedded and written into us that meaning is inextricably spun into every electrochemical message bring sent from our sensory organs to out brain. The stories of this complex interiorised world are foreign to us for all that we carry them around inside us, for it is beyond the capacity of our human senses. Science needs art to tell these stories.

Lorna Donlon applied for a Golden Fleece Award to support her practice at a critical point in its development. Previously working on a relatively small scale, she plans to dramatically increase the size of her work by building a large vertical tapestry loom and investing in new materials, as well as time to experiment with them.