Méadhbh O'Connor (IRL, 1984) is a sculptor and installation artist who was one of the first artists to be selected for the UCD Science Artists In Residence programme in its inauguration in 2013. During her time with the UCD College of Science, Méadhbh worked closely with scientists whose research centres on the natural world and environmental concerns, notably with Dr. Tamara Hochstrasser (SZ) and Dr. Emmanuel Reynaud (FR), both of the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Sciences. Of her residency, Méadhbh says:
"The UCD Science Artists In Residence programme has marked a formative time in my growth as an artist. Meeting the scientists here, particularly those with whom I share an interest in nature and in environmental concerns, has helped me understand better what drives me as an artist. I now have a clear vision of the path I will take henceforth and how to relate my work as an artist to wider societal concerns. I intend to work in tandem with scientists for the foreseeable future."
At the culmination of her residency, Méadhbh built a major, large-scale sculpture that was presented in the new UCD O'Brien Centre for Science in Spring 2014. The exhibition, titled 'Unknown Shores', was the first public exhibition of the UCD Science Artists In Residence programme and was inspired by the story of her collaborator Dr. Emmanuel Reynaud and his work with Tara Expeditions. She built a large ship-like sculpture out of salvaged laboratory equipment and new materials, including steel scaffolding; flexible PVC tubing; handcrafted, working wooden clamps; glass tubes; copper wire; netting and other miscellaneous parts. Further information on this project can be found here.
In addition to this major project, Méadhbh worked with Emmanuel tutoring students on his elective undergraduate module. She has also developed a solid working partnership with Dr. Tamara Hochstrasser driven by their shared interest in environmental concerns. Together, Méadhbh and Tamara are devsing longterm strategies to increase public awareness of the global environmental crisis by approaching the matter through cultural and scientific arenas. They have presented a number of public talks; produced a joint, published essay; partcipated in a number of public art exhibitions, and more activities; and continue to work closely together.
For 2015, Méadhbh launched a new elective module she has designed for undergraduate science students titled 'Creativity in Science and Art'.
Artist's website: http://www.meadhbhoconnor.info/
Dr. Emmanuel Reynaud: http://earth.ucd.ie/people/dr-emmanuel-g-reynaud/
Dr. Tamara Hochstrasser: http://earth.ucd.ie/people/dr-tamara-hochstrasser/
Artist Méadhbh O'Connor. Copyright: Natalie Lim 2014