Uncomfortable State: Laura O’Connor
Official Opening: Thursday 10th May, 8pm
This solo exhibition by artist Laura O’Connor addresses the realities and fantasies around Irish women’s bodies. Ireland has long been represented as female or ‘Mother Ireland’ where depictions of the country as a woman are seen through images of Kathleen Ní Houlihan or Róisín Dubh or in 19th Century caricatures as Lady Hibernia. In the last century Irish women have been punished for their reproductive abilities and right now the country is at a point of change. This timely exhibition challenges notions of national identity that are tied to Irish women’s bodies. O’Connor combines sculpture, video and performance to expose the body as a site of resistance and discomfort. The exhibition centres around the video work Uncomfortable State. This two-channel video projection displays the artist standing in front of a green cut out of Ireland where she slowly paints her body green. Using green screen technology O’Connor keys out her body that is then replaced in the
adjacent video by footage of the Irish Sea. This erasure of the artist’s body and replacement by the body of water travelled daily by Irish women to access abortions is a visual metaphor for how pregnant women are treated by the state. Inspired by the Tanaiste’s 2017 comments on his “feeling uncomfortable” towards the Citizen’s Assembly decision to repeal the Eight Amendment O’Connor puts herself in an uncomfortable
position as a challenge to these remarks.
Laura is currently finishing a practice-based PhD at Ulster University, Belfast. She has recently exhibited at LACE Gallery, Los Angeles, Framewerk Gallery, Belfast, Townhall Cavan & RUA RED, Dublin. O’Connor is the recipient of Arts Council of Northern Ireland funding 2017, 2013 & 2011. She is also co-founder of Wanda, Feminism and Moving Image Event in Belfast. www.lauraoconnorart.com
Runs until 30th June. Admission free, All welcome.