The original inspiration for this series is the work of Nicolas Poussin on the same theme, with the sacraments acting as a catalyst, interpreted through secular ideas and discourses. The work fuses contemporary Fine Art practices with traditional forms of object making. Through a diverse range of medium, including, sculpture, sewing, video, sound works and photography, O'Brien explores domesticity, every day rituals and rites of passage. These rituals are both an 'anchor and a noose' and as 'a way of navigating the complexities of life'; that they are rites of passage into one's cultural milieu and that, although restrictive, these sacraments can still confer meaning and 'grace' upon one's activities.
O'Brien's exploration of three major themes; the meaning of ritual in domestic life, the changing iconography of religion and the female figure in contemporary art. O'Brien uses the sacraments as an armature to delve into the pivotal points of human existence from birth through to death, re-working the iconography attached to each sacrament into a contemporary domestic setting, rendering it free of the pomp and regalia of some historical treatments. And she firmly places the female sensibility centre stage of the narrative and drama associated with each sacrament. The placing of Holy Orders in a garden being carefully tended gives rise to discussion about the sacrifices to be made for tending a garden in such a structured way, the nature of the activity and the implications for the liberty of the individual.
O'Brien has won many awards for her work and is in both private and public collections, including The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, The Caldic Collection, Rotterdam and The Volpinum Collection, Vienna. She has shown extensively, including Haus Der Kunst, Munich, The Gemeentemuseum, Holland, and Centro National des Artes, Mexico. Born in 1957, she received a first class honours BA Fine Art Painting in 1995 and an MA Fine Art Painting in 1998, from The National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Abigail O'Brien lives and works in Dublin.
To mark the 4th editions of the FICEP « Étrangement proche », there will be an exceptional evening opening of the exhibition on the 28th of September 18h30 - 20h30.
Exhibition from 23 September to 12 November 2005