Detail from I Know Things About Heat & Skin 2016 Sculptural installation with physiotherapy bands, physiotherapy putty, Roma Plastilina clay, ballistic gel, folded aluminium. Dimensions variable.
Folded aluminium structures implying deconstructed archival boxes are gently infested with ballistic gel and roma plastilina - the clay invented for art, but used in ballistics to simulate human flesh. They are intriguing and satisfying sculptural objects..but O'Gormans' choice of disruptive material: a clay which is stable, but changes to the touch, make them an apt metaphor for the narratives of history.
Gemma Tipton on the exhibition In The Flesh at The Lab Gallery, Dublin for Frieze - Critics Guide, 2016
O'Gorman has made artworks using a range of media - from food, found object to utilitarian materials such as silver, bone china or glass. Often these works act as a means of linking disparate fictional, poetic, philosophical or historical account with contemporary concerns. Underpinning this practice has been a study of material culture, informing a dialogue around present experiences of uncertainty or survival.
Recently, her work has explored how time can subvert the function of objects and architectural spaces as a destabilised and haptic form of commemoration. Like most physical things, artefacts related to turbulent periods or violent acts - fire arms, incendiary devices or printed manifestos - have a tendency to self destruct due to their inherent chemical or physical compositions. Vocabulary used by museum conservators to describe various types of deterioration (words such as weeping or blistering) are often verbs that could be used to describe a trauma in the human body. As such - recent works explore alternative and more visceral forms of commemoration, existing as a meditation on destruction through an appropriated language of conservation.
The dominance of structures such as former famine workhouses, domestic asylums and military barracks are in some cases testament to varied histories of subjugation or dispossession that can still be partially accessed through a collective psyche. By focussing on the corporeal, sometimes overlooked evidence that those objects and spaces can carry - they may provide a lens through which we can view, relate to and thus generate alternative narratives around what, why and how we choose to preserve.
Bridget O'Gorman (b. 1981, Co. Tipperary, Ireland) 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 currently lives and works in the UK where she was recently selected to develop a new body of work as part of the Wheatley Bequest Fine Art Fellowhship at Birmingham School of Art.