As an artist originally from West Coast of Ireland, Tina O’Connell has been living and working in Brixton, London, since completing both an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, London and a postgraduate degree at Les Beaux Art de Marseilles, France. Drawing on her agricultural background in rural Ireland, her early sculptures were developed whilst undertaking the prestigious Henry Moore Fellowship in Sculpture and were monumental in scale and material. This grounding in sculptures traditional qualities has since been developed in work that examines the nature of permanence, stability and materials associated with public sculpture. Through a highly refined aesthetic that embraces a range of non-sculptural materials, from bitumen to light, her investigations and materials based inquiry remains grounded in key themes of personal loss and memory, often realised as exquisite forms subject to slow forms of deconstruction, from anthropogenic noise to temporal decay.
In what has been called a ‘canonical’ site -specific work ‘In-Dublin’ (1995) a one tonne sphere of moving bitumen collapsed through the heart of a closed pub, a project that led to a series of public commissions across Ireland (Ireland, UK and France 2004-12). Questioning the role of sculpture as a site-specific practice, she also started exploring the relationship of permanent public sculpture to the preservation of lost forms (Pothole / Broken Bollard series – Jerwood Gallery – 2011 and College des Irelandais, Paris) as well the transitory nature of mediated networks (Heidenheim, Germany – 2010) and catastrophic natural events (1×1, Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington DC -2012). This led to a series of projects exploring site-based interventions in social contexts (Speedie Telstar, Galway 2013 and Study for a Pavilion, Askeaton, Limerick 2017) that led her to explore the role of creative photographic documentation on capturing loss using a light painting technique. This series of work includes lost and stolen public sculptures (Archive of Destruction 2017-) as well as temporal site-specific works in subterranean installations; at Objectif Exhibitions (Antwerp, Belgium-2015) and a former Nuclear Reactor in Sweden (Fargfabriken / R1 Bunker, Stockholm – 2017).
Most recently, her work has started to explore her memories of Irelands natural landscapes and the increasing pace of erasure of biodiverse environments due to the impacts of humans. This led to the co-curation of Perfect Nature with artist Neal White – an exhibition in Amstelpark, Amsterdam and a new collabortive work; Nature of Truth (funded by Mondriaan Funds), following a long residency in Amsterdam (Nieuw en Meer / Zone2source – 2022). This work was presented recently as part of The Soil Assemblies (Kochi Biennale, India – 2023) and continues as a project that explores the long terms impact of anthropogenic noise (human pollution) through media including film, sculpture and performance based investigations.