Orla O’Byrne graduated with a first class honours from The Crawford College of Art and Design in 2019. She has won many awards for her work including the Lavit Gallery Student of the Year Award and the prestigious CIT Registrar’s Office Prize. She is the current resident graduate in the drawing department of CCAD. This year she is also looking forward to a desk residency at The Guesthouse Project, Cork and she will be spending time at The Cork Film Centre, Ballincollig as the recipient of the Herman Marbe Memorial Award. Her large-scale chalk drawings, projections and works in plaster deal with themes of impermanence, authenticity in art and the human compulsion to cling on to what we know.
My current work includes sequences of chalk drawings projected onto blackboards. These free-standing blackboard structures have been the site of those drawings and their traces are still visible there. Only the final drawing in the sequence is left on the blackboard. The others have all been slowly erased to make room for new ones. They were drawn using handmade palm-sized chalks, which themselves slowly reduced to nothing as the drawings were made. The drawings made in chalk dust point to the impermanence of everything. This is a theme intrinsic to all my work. Put more precisely, these drawings are about the impossibility of everything staying the same and how that sits with the human compulsion to cling on to what we know. I have also recently made several series of partial plaster casts, usually taken from objects in distinctive places such as museums and cathedrals. These casts are like three-dimensional rubbings. They have picked up enough information to describe their subject but at the same time each has its own innate character. They are also sequential (one being taken from another) and share with the chalk drawings that sense of either coming into being or slowly disappearing.