Lily O’Shea (b. 1997) is a visual artist based in Cork concerned with political questions surrounding the contemporary labourer. Lily’s work utilizes performance, sculpture, and text to expand on the materiality of precarity while foregrounding various anxieties endured by the modern-day worker.
Lily is currently an associate member of Sample-Studios, Cork, graduate resident at Backwater Artists Group, Cork, and recently completed a desk research residency at The Guesthouse Project, Cork. Recent group exhibitions include; a passive house, a publication initiated by Cork based curator Ali O’Shea involving artistsFiona Kelly, Dori O’Connell, Mary O’Leary and Lily O’Shea (2020); Rhetoric Degree Showcase, Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, Ireland (2020); Villa the End, Berlin Gallery Weekend, Charlottenburg, Germany (2019). Recent writing include; ‘Laggard’, a text featured on The Paper website, The Paper, (2021); ‘Collaborative Survival in Precarious Times’, a text featured in Hypertext (Issue 06), Bloomers Magazine, (2020).
Lily’s work utilises performance, sculpture, and text to interrogate questions surrounding the contemporary labourer. The adoption of methods such as appropriation and assemblage seek to examine changes occurring in workers’ labour processes. The term ‘precarity’ is integral to the work, this refers to all forms of flexible, contingent, and insecure employment. It focuses on managerial practice and project work in order to assess issues concerning the omnipresence of public relations in which symbols of productivity, the performance of engagement and coerced self-realisation have taken precedence. The materiality of the work is an attempt to initiate a conversation about the trajectory of a precarious person who is often unable to know anything about their own future.