CIT Crawford College of Art & Design - MA in Research Exhibition Helen O'Shea

CIT Crawford College of Art & Design - MA in Research Exhibition Helen O'Shea

Date: 26th Oct 2020 - 20th Nov 2020
Time: Online viewing only
Venue: James Barry Exhibition Centre

Balancing Relations // Helen O'Shea - MA Exhibition 

Balancing Relations looks at the speculative prospect of what is beyond our vision in the depths of our oceans, and uses the transformation of waste plastics to raise themes of the environmental, material, and ecological concern.

Inspired by the volume of plastics in the oceans my imagination has been fuelled by the revelation of colonies of microorganisms growing on the gyres of plastic floating there. The idea of inorganic plastics supporting organic life has offered the framework to explore fictional speculations using waste material.



Images of works and installation shots taken by Roland Paschoff and Mike Hannon.

Researching the journey of waste plastics in the ocean brought home the complexity of what is happening in this environment: physical breakdown, absorption of toxins, ingestion, leeching chemicals, bacterial and microbial growth, and transportation of invasive species. 

We perceive plastic to be inanimate, but it is very ‘implicated’ in our lives (Bennett, 2009).

These intimate creations foreground the mark of the hand using textile sensibilities while exploring the potential to reuse waste plastics in a contemporary art setting.

Balancing Relations is a personal response to encounters with waste plastic to build a sensory connection, explore its materiality, and respond instinctively on a visceral, aesthetic, and intellectual level. The drive is to inspire another way to relate by disrupting perceptions of waste. Exposing this material’s potential through subversive aesthetics questions possibilities on end of life issues.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) from used plastic milk bottles is used to create the Scaled pieces; plastics found at the beach are the materials used to create the Hybrid works; and used plastic shopping bags with stitch were used to create Mantle for this exhibition.

Helen is currently undertaking a masters by research in CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, where she also graduated with a first-class BA (hons) degree in Contemporary Applied Art, in 2017. Her work has been exhibited internationally such as part of Discovery in Tresor Contemporary Craft Fair, Basel, Switzerland also in China as part of Irish Wave 3 & 4. She has undertaken residencies in Cill Riallaigh also with a mentoring role in CCAD and received support from Arts Council in 2015 to undertake a residency in Iceland. Her work has been highlighted in Crafts Magazine (UK) and featured in Irish Arts Review.

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