Kathlyn O Brien


2011 was my first physical experience of Westport and Achill Island, I had come to Westport to have a sculpture exhibition.  As a consequence of that first impression, I became an avid enthusiast of this landscape, it’s people and the dominant, raw, natural elements, that impinge on it, unimpeded. 

It was the seductive, allure of a magnificent ocean; a force of such magnitude , beauty and volume, and yet equally with a profound, propensity for annihilation, and it’s this that keeps beckoning. 

Over the last decade of photographing the ocean the landscape and Achill Island; indulging the  stimuli, pulsating all the senses,  the essence of this idea evolved. 

The main objective being, to pay homage to those  chosen by the Ocean as their resting place, those who never came back and those fortunate enough to be recovered , and I pay homage to the sea that chose them. Communities ripped apart through the pain of sudden, lost loved ones, and yet an ocean that has also nurtured  these communities, through the centuries of whaling and fishing etc.

I chose the image of a pillow, larger than life . It is a quiet  piece of work where one can rest and be at one with their thoughts, life and mortality.

it is 7 foot long x3.5ft wide and 1.5 ft heigh . It is made internally of plaster of Paris bandage and plaster and externally it is covered with fibreglass resin. It is blue with a translucent green colour and stipulated to be placed at the water edge. 

My hope is that it will be a piece of comfort and not a violation of this majestic landscape.

1980 / 1985.  N.C.A.D  first class Hons. Degree  Sculpture.

1986.   Arts Council apprentice ship award, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Poland

1987/1990.  Slavonic Fellowship, Unesco Paris. 

2001/2003   N.C.A.D.  M.A. Media Fine Art, Masters Degree.

Solo Exhibitions:

2017. Kevin Kavanagh Gallery , Dublin. / 2012 ADF. Belfast. /2011 Custom House Gallery, Westport. / 2009  Paul Kane Gallery, Dublin. / 2001  Paul Kane Gallery, Dublin.

Group Shows: / 2011  Group Show, Custom House , Westport. / 2011.  RHA. Invited artist.

2009.   RHA invited artist. / 2006.   Strata, Wales. / 2006.    Kells, Co.Kilkenny.

Biography: / 2011. Variations on an Enigma, essay by Catherine Marshall. / 2011   The Missing Feather, essay by Cliodhna Shaffrey.

Photograph: Conor McKeown