2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Artist: Lar O’Toole

Title of Exhibition: FORCE MAJEURE

Date: 14th Aug – 5th Sept 2020

About the Exhibition: There are many influences that shape our lives, from the subtle to the significant. During the recent lockdown we all acutely felt the influence of the microscopic, the economic, the social and the governmental. There was something in the air that could potentially harm us, however the world seen through our windows appeared normal and benign as usual. A recurring theme has become prevalent in my practice; that of unseen forces, be they physical, or metaphysical. These new artworks consider externalities, the outside or hidden energies that impact upon our environment and psyche. Some of the works were produced during lockdown and in certain ways responded to it, while older pieces have taken on extra significance in light of these new forces and influences acting upon us. 
Science and the natural world are important influences on my work, in particular the coastal habitats near my home at Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. This area is referenced in a selection of works here: a compression of the astronomical down to a human sized framework, an observation of the paradox in local rituals and an observation of the cycles that can exist within deep time. 
The above-mentioned hidden forces are explored in a number of ways here: the use of the paranormal as a rational stop-gap before science properly explains phenomena, as a footprint or shadow of imperceptible matter as it interacts with ordinary matter or the suggestion of something sinister and the anxiety that manifests from these pressures. 
I am also inspired by Land Artists working in the sixties and seventies that responded to deep time, astronomical events and cosmology, and other contemporary artists that have inherited the legacy of Land Art and developed it further. 


Artist Statement: O’Toole’s practice responds to the environment and our relationship with nature. His most recent work relates astronomical scales and geological or ‘deep’ time to the human experience. A central strategy of the work is the production of imagery and forms that evoke elemental or hidden forces felt across both nature and culture whilst examining how these forces get ‘portrayed’, thought about and mediated by society at large.  By initiating a connection with nature and the cosmological O’Toole invites the viewer to reflect upon the central paradox of the environment and the ‘unnatural’ forces that impact upon its ever-changing forms.

Artist Biography: Laurence O’Toole has a background in graphic design and engineering and his based near Carne, Co. Wexford. He graduated from IT Carlow in 2014 with a first-class honours in Art. After securing funding from Artlinks in 2017 he undertook an MA in Art & Process at Crawford College of Art in Cork, graduating in December 2018. He was granted a student residency at IMMA in the summer of 2018 and recently completed a six-week Technical Development Residency at The Leitrim Sculpture Centre awarded by Wexford County Council. His main areas of research are the history of science; science fiction literature and film; astronomy; and the effects of economic activity on the environment.

The project was jointly funded by Leitrim County Council.