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2039 brought together new work by artists Emer O Boyle and Méadhbh O’Connor. The exhibition explored the parallels that bind the pursuits of both artists and scientists, in a continuum of reciprocal influence.


Early in the life of the solar system, dust and rock circling the sun were pulled together by gravity into planets. But Jupiter, the largest planet, kept a number of the pieces from coalescing. Instead, its gravity disrupted the formation process, leaving an array of unattached asteroids.


The exhibition took its title from one of these asteroids orbiting the sun between Jupiter and Mars. It has been there since the dawn of our solar system. Only 23km in diameter, it travels alone, 600,000km from any other object in space. It travels in the Main Asteroid belt among billions – maybe even trillions of asteroids. On February 14th, 1974, it was observed and named. It’s called asteroid 2039 Payne Gaposchkin.


In 1925, Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin discovered the composition of the stars. Her PhD work on reading stellar spectra underpins all modern astronomy. Her insufficiently recognised story, is the impetus for a new body of work by  

Emer O Boyle in drawing, video and installation.


Since graduating with an MA in Sculpture from NCAD in 2007, Emer has worked collaboratively to draw out individual stories within collective contexts. Her projects have been funded by Create, Dublin Fringe Festival, EU Partnership for Peace Programme 2, Amnesty Voice Our Concern, EUFP7 funded project called GLORIA – Global Robotic Telescope Intelligent Array  project and University College Dublin. She is co-founder with Prof. Lorraine Hanlon and director of UCD Parity Studios.


For their contribution to 2039 she would like to thank UCD astrophysicists

Dr. Antonio Martin-Carrillo for his detailed observations in identifying and imaging asteroid 2039, Prof. Lorraine Hanlon for the use of WATCHER, a robotic telescope she built in 2006, Dr. Dimitri Scholz, Director of Biological Imaging, Conway Institute, UCD, for electron microscopy imaging of a poppy seed and Dr. Julian Menuge, UCD Geological Sciences for the loan of a meteorite which crashed into Arizona 49,000 years ago.


Méadhbh O’Connor produces large-scale sculptural installations that mix handcrafted objects, engineered constructions and ephemeral materials. Her projects are all, whether directly or indirectly, propelled by her interest in science. For 2039 at ArtBox, Méadhbh explores the role of fiction as a domain in which complex and seemingly unlikely ideas can be processed through the imagination. Here she creates a world which combines Baroque and Gothic Revival styles, the scientific instrument, references to the astronomical, to chess, to the Sci-Fi subgenera of Steampunk and Planetary Romance; echoing tropes which persist in Science Fantasy today, often serving as elaborate backdrops to alternative worlds. Recent exhibitions and awards include Welcome Disturbances, The LAB, Dublin, 2015; Sculpture Workshop Award, Fire Station, 2015; Unknown Shores (solo exhibition), O’Brien Centre for Science, UCD, 2014; UCD Science Artists In Residence Award, 2013; powers + roots, Pallas PP/S, Dublin, 2013.

Links – http://www.ucdartinscience.com/meadhbh-o-connor/4579008933 and http://www.meadhbhoconnor.info/


This project was curated by ArtBox Director Dr. Hilary Murray.

ARTBOX, Unit 3 James Joyce Street, Dublin 1














An Exhibition by Emer O Boyle & Méadhbh O'Connor

ArtBox, Unit 3 James Joyce Street, Dublin 1.

Oct 15 - Nov 21  2015


'Searching for Cecilia' taken by UCD Watcher telescope.

P.I. Prof. Lorraine Hanlon. Processed by Dr. Antonio Martin-Carrillo UCD in collaboration with Emer O Boyle


cecilia_1851_2015_06_15 (1) unnamed