Born 1975, Dublin
Orla Whelan is a contemporary Irish artist. Her work deals primarily with the exploration and representation of subjectivity. Informed by personal experience, literature and art history, her work attempts to tease out the desire and compulsion to investigate the self, and its condition. Taking shared human experience as a departure point, she intuitively investigates the fields of memory, perception and representation. These explorations are attempted with varying degrees of melancholy, optimism and despair. She works primarily in oil painting though her practice has recently expanded to include watercolour and drawing. At every stage, the practice functions as an investigation into the material, the subject, the imagery and the meaning of the paintings. The intuitive aspect echoes Giorgio de Chirco’s description of painting wherein sometimes the hand and the eye conspire to do something unbeknownst to the mind.
Orla Whelan has a MA in Visual Arts Practices from Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin (2007), MA European Fine Art from Winchester School of Art, Barcelona (2001) and BA Fine Art from National College of Art & Design, Dublin (1997). Recent Solo exhibitions include In Paint, In Teeth, In Mountains, In Stars, The LAB, (2011/12), Seeing in black, Roscommon Art Centre (2011), At the Heart of Chance, Draiocht, Blanchardstown (2008/09), We live to see each other at thisisnotashop (2007), and Outside at The Return, Goethe Instituit (2007). Recent group exhibitions include This must be the place, IMOCA, (2009) There, Not There at Crawford Art Gallery (2008) and Trapezium at the LAB (2008). She is a member of the artists collective Jeco Sword (with Clodagh Emoe, Janine Davidson and Sinead O Reilly).