Shortlist 2022

Margaret O’Brien

Margaret O'Brien

Margaret O’Brien is an Irish visual artist based across Liverpool, Manchester, and Ennis, Co. Clare. She graduated with BA in Fine Art from Limerick School of Art (1995), and MFA in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Art, London (2004). Between 2011 and 2019, she completed MPhil in Art and PhD at Trinity College Dublin. She explores concepts of failure through installation using a combination of sculpture, live sound, light, moving image and kinetics.

Her installations are the result of material experiments that often operate within a live state of malfunction or instability. Underpinning the precarious nature of these works is an exploration of the concept of failure, what its parameters are, and its psychological and emotional values. This often translates to an exploration of material possibility and impossibility through scale, engineering, process, and site. Because of this there must always be some element of discovery for her in the concept and creation of the works, and the possibility of using ‘failure’ as a positive and critical space of trial and endeavour that reflects a human drive to discover. She uses technology as an interface between a material and its environmental conditions, and as a means to evolve its material state. Using this approach, she builds a psychological charge into the experience of the artwork. Although her perspective is dystopian, it is not without humour.

Margaret O’Brien applied for a Golden Fleece Award to allow her to engage third party expertise in technology (coding) and 3D print technology, and to explore the potential multi-disciplinary collaboration holds for her practice. New work will involve collaboration in areas of chemistry with Dr. Paolo Dessi (NUI, Galway) and music with composer / researcher Dr. Isabel Benito-Gutierrez (UK).