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Work of the Week | 9 August 2021

CAG.3075 Nuala O’Donovan, Teasel – Grey Area, 2020, porcelain, 24 x 38 x 52 cm. Purchased, 2020. © the artist.

Teasel – Grey Area (2020) is a sculptural work by Nuala O’Donovan. Made in porcelain clay, it is an intricate form – or series of forms – that captivates the viewer and invites close inspection and wonder.

“The inspiration for my work,” as the artist notes, “comes from patterns in nature and the geometry of living forms.” Often bearing self-similar or fractal qualities, these are found in plants, corals, and shells. Teasel – Grey Area, as its title suggests, takes its form from the flowerhead of the teasel, a common sight in the Irish landscape. O’Donovan is fascinated by “the narratives suggested by imperfections and irregularities within patterns.” The resulting repetition of proportion in her works, in turn, creates a sense of beauty and harmony.

A former architectural technician, Nuala O’Donovan worked in the United States before returning to her native Cork in 1997. She subsequently studied ceramics at Crawford College of Art & Design and received her MA in 2008. Since then, the artist has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Michelangelo Foundation, Venice and in EARTH, WIND & FIRE: Made in Cork Contemporary (2018-19) at Crawford Art Gallery.

Nuala O’Donovan is also a featured artist in CONJURING FORM (30 July – 12 September) at Doneraile Court, County Cork, which is curated by Alice Stori Liechtenstein and organised by Design & Crafts Council Ireland and the Office of Public Works.

Teasel – Grey Area (2020) by Nuala O’Donovan is featured in NEW THREADS: Acquisitions 2021 in our Gibson Galleries (Floor 1) until 5 September.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:


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