Physical sketches referencing the prosthetic, the disability aid, the blister pack - out of an ongoing research project entitled A Knowing Body 2018 (developed at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with writer Sue Rainsford). Pigmented polyurethane resin, kiln formed glass, digitally printed silk satin, wax, bronze leaf, body heat and oil.

This collaborative project incorporates object, text and sound towards experimental research which pivots around Lucian Freud's assertion 'I want the paint to feel like flesh'. We are now condensing this material - which moves across anthropology, psychoanalysis, trans and gender theory - to ascertain what precisely flesh feels like, and what it might feel like if we could remove ourselves from rehearsed responses and anachronistic binaries.

Drawing on the writings of Paul B. Preciado and Suely Rolnik in considering the status of contemporary manifestations of flesh, we have been reflecting on how bodies are made visible and invisible - on the Repeal the 8th movement in Ireland, media coverage of Ann Lovett's death and court transcripts from Joanne Hayes' interrogation by the Irish State. Through these avenues, our aim is to expand and problematise our understanding of flesh, and ultimately counteract what Rolnik has termed the anaesthesia of the knowing body.

Combining text, acoustics, image and object we have been rehearsing alternative modes of embodiment.  Engaging the technical expertise of a Foley artist, we generated a 'visceral-scape': an expanded narrative unfolding through a series of choreographed actions. Exploiting the simultaneous ambiguity and familiarity of a specifically engineered glossary of sounds, body, prop and prosthetic allow for physical and immediate recognition as well as somatic disruption within the viewer.

 

 

A Constitution of Iron 2017  Still from performance and HD video with accompanying text.  

The precarious existence of creative professionals is explored through performance conversant with the material structure of a traditional school of art (a purpose built, 19th Century, red brick building). In dialogue with the life casts depicted - bodies hang, drape and balance precariously upon the architectural fabric of the institution.

The historical school of art in Birmingham is a protected building, known to have a caveat within its deeds - that the structure should never be used for any purpose other than for art education. The title of the work references a quote by the 19th C art critic, John Ruskin - who points out that the iron which makes red our building bricks and terracotta clay is the same mineral which flows through our own blood: lecturing that we should not dismiss rusted iron as 'spoiled' [he states that it is in fact]...'metal mingled so delicately in our human life that we cannot even blush without its help'.

Filmed on location at Birmingham School of Art, UK. Camera: Neil O'Driscoll. Performer: Shelley Eva Haden.

 

Bridget O'Gorman (b. Co. Tipperary, Ireland) is a visual artist based between the UK and Ireland.  Working with video, sculpture and live event, her enquiries focus upon methods of connecting the corporeal to the inanimate.  Her practice has highlighted the destabilised or haptic deterioration within the lives of objects alongside the somatic experience -  informing a dialogue around how bodies are made visible or invisible. 

She graduated with a BA in Fine Art Painting from the Crawford College of Art (IRL) in 2003. In 2008 she completed an MFA between the Department of Applied Art and The School of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Recent solo and selected group exhibitions include In The Flesh at The Lab Gallery IE 2016, Telling the Bees at the Galway Arts Centre IE 2015, On Beauty at the Roscommon Arts Centre IE 2015, Wade In at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. Johns CA 2014, From a Studio Exchange at Acme Project Space, London UK 2014, If I show you the Roses, Rubicon Projects, Dublin IE 2014, & We Are Suddenly Somewhere Else at the Butler Gallery Kilkenny IE 2013. She is the recipient of various awards including the Golden Fleece Award Shortlist/Commendation 2015, Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary Award 2016 & 2014, Fire Station/Acme Work/Live Programme Exchange London 2014, the Future Makers Travel & Training Award 2011 and the Wexford Emerging Visual Artist Award 2010. During 2012 - 13 her work was supported through the Artist In Studio Residency at the National Sculpture Factory in Cork (IRL). Between 2014 - 17 she was a long-term resident at Fire Station Artists' Studios in Dublin. She recently completed a new body of studio research as part of the Wheatley Bequest Fine Art Fellowhship at Birmingham School of Art, UK. She is currently developing new work at the Irish Museum of Modern Art as part of the Freud Project.