Office of Public Wonder
Visiting artist, Kiera O’Toole, Ireland
‘Warning' centred on the relationships between humans and nature within the site-specific area of Portobello Beach, Edinburgh. The project aimed to reveal what is visible to call attention to what is not. The ‘natural’ landscape of Portobello is physically marked by a disused waste pumping station, an old sewer pipe, groins and is a heavily post-industrial site. Portobello has repeatedly received a low rating for bathing and is marked as ‘poor’ in 2019. By giving new meaning to existing natural found materials, the project sought to create new perceptual experiences of the natural site. In doing so, this three-part artwork enabled the viewer to ponder their natural environment and connect deeply to the local fragile ecology and to themselves as beings.
The project was delivered by the newly established OPW Office of Public Wonder. The OPW advocates public art projects which engage with the idea of wonder to make connections between the aesthetic experience and the site. The aim of the OPW is to create a Holding Space for wonder for both the artist and viewer. OPW is the work of Irish artist and researcher, Kiera O’Toole.
‘Warning’ consisted of a three-part work involving:
-Site specific chalk drawings at the site of the Joppa pumping station (sea walls onto the beach). The chalk used consists of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), the same material as the shells.
-Public Warning Signs at one of the beach groynes
-“Wonder Shells” modified common seashells using graphite powder to be displayed at an undisclosed location around Portobello.
Recently, seashells such as Common mussel (Mytilus edulis), Common Scallop (Aequipecten opercularis), Common Cockle (Cerastoderma edule) found on this site have lost their colouring due to unknown reasons. Research suggests that colouring will return once environmental conditions improve.
The work was installed for the first weekend of the Art Walk - 7th and 8th Sept 2019.
GRADUATED FROM DIT (BA FINE ART), (2000) AND A MPHIL (FINE ART, RESEARCH) IN NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA, (2013).
DRAWING WONDER: EXAMINING WHETHER DRAWING CAN INDUCE A SENSE OF WONDER THROUGH PRACTICE-BASED RESEARCH
DRAWING DECENTERED: CO-FOUNDER FOR AN ONLINE PLATFORM IN COLLABORATION WITH FIVE PROFESSIONAL IRISH ARTISTS/ACADEMICS TO TEST AND EXPERIMENT THE PARAMETERS OF CONTEMPORARY DRAWING PRACTICES IN IRELAND
CDP: COOLANEY DRAWING PROJECT. CURATOR AND LEAD ARTIST WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS FROM THE VILLAGE OF COOLANEY IN CO. SLIGO. THE AIM OF THE GROUP IS TO EXPLORE LOCAL SOCIAL HISTORIES AND MATERIAL CULTURE THROUGH DRAWING, PERFORMANCE DRAWING AND EXPANDED FIELD OF DRAWING TO ALTER HOW LOCAL RESIDENTS VIEW THEIR SURROUNDINGS.
COLLABORATIONS: ONGOING COLLABORATION FOR PAST FIVE YEARS WITH DR ANNEMARIE MURLAND (AUSTRALIA). DEVELOPING COLLABORATION WITH ARTIST AND LECTURER GREG BURGOYNE UK), EIMEAR MULVEY, NATIONAL SEAN NOS DANCER 2018.
RECENT EXHIBITIONS | THE MODEL, SLIGO, 2017, DAMER HOUSE GALLERY, LIMERICK, CATALYST ARTS, BELFAST, CENTRE FOR CREATIVE PRACTICES, DUBLIN (2016/2017) , MUNICIPAL GALLERY DLR LEXICON, DUBLIN (2016), THE WATERWAYS IRELAND, ENNISKILLEN (2016).
RECENT RESIDENCIES| LEITRIM SCULPTURE CENTRE, 2017, CENTRE FOR CREATIVE PRACTICES, 2017, TINAHELY COURTHOUSE ARTS CENTRE, (2015) AND RYSS, NSW, AUSTRALIA FUNDED BY NSW ARTS COUNCIL ( 2013, 2011, 2010)
RECENT PRESENTATIONS| PANELLIST |ARTIST TALKS 'DRAWING AS WONDER' HUNT MUSUEM, LIMERICK (2018), ARTS IN EDUCATION NATIONAL DAY, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND (2018), 'DRAWING CONVERSATIONS 2', COVENTRY UNIVERSITY, (2017), VISUAL ARTS IRELAND, 'GET TOGETHER' (2017), 'NEW PERSPECTIVES ON DRAWING' FOR BART LODEWIJKS’ EXHIBITION IN THE MODEL, SLIGO (2016), THE 20TH AUSTRALASIAN CONFERENCE FOR IRISH STUDIES IN UNIVERSITY OF NSW, AUSTRALIA AND IN THE NOT JUST NED: THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA
COLLECTIONS | PUBLIC: OFFICE OF PUBLIC WORKS, IRELAND, WICKLOW COUNTY COUNCIL, LISSADELL HOUSE ART COLLECTION, MAITLAND REGIONAL GALLERY, NSW AUSTRALIA, MERCURE HOTELS, NSW AUSTRALIA. PRIVATE COLLECTIONS ARE IN IRELAND, AUSTRALIA, UK AND USA