Orla O’Byrne is a Cork-based visual artist who works across a variety of media and techniques such as drawing, photography and sculpture. In 2019 she received a BA in Fine Art (first class honours) From MTU CCAD. In December 2022 she completed an MA in Arts & Process, also at MTU CCAD (also first class honours). In 2020 Orla was granted a four-year studio licence at Backwater Artists and in 2022 became a member of the Board of Directors there. Her previous awards include The Lavit Gallery Student of the Year and the CIT Registrar’s Prize. She has been long-listed twice for the RDS Visual Art Award. Recently funded projects include a research trip to the marble-quarrying region in Northern Italy and an ongoing project which began with a desk residency at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. Orla is currently exhibiting work at the Crawford Art Gallery in an exhibition called SITE OF CHANGE: Evolution of a building (March 2023 – November 2023).
Through a variety of techniques and media, Orla O’Byrne makes tangible things in response to the abstract narratives that surround us. Her work is rooted in the overlooked histories of specific sites or artefacts. She is curious about what’s concealed within the vastness of the institutional archive. Working from stories as we as from physical traces, Orla unearths and amplifies the incidental to uncover new ways of engaging with a subject. She works from a place of deep affinity with her materials. Drawings are made in charcoal dust and chalk. She takes imprints, casts glass and plaster objects and works with analogue photographic processes. This visual vocabulary is in keeping with her fascinations: trace, erasure and the passing of time. She pushes ideas through various material permutations as a way of revealing layered and more nuanced versions of our given history.