Surface tensions recur in O'Malley's sculpture and drawings, evident through a haptic, agitated quality to edges and appearances. She is drawn to materials that display traces of their own making, labouring the surfaces of polished wood and graphite to the point of distraction. Shape is a video work in which O’Malley feigns the role of choreographer.

Niamh O'Malley
Thu 21/09 - Sun 24/09
11 mins
The Lookout

Shape is a video work in which O’Malley feigns the role of choreographer. Flat abstract shapes enter the frame and move calmly across a grey plane. Occasionally lines and curves settle into what appear to be deliberate arrangements. These allusive compositions shift onwards, inevitably swallowed by some barely discernible rhythmic drift. This transient image-making is possible due to surface tension in the molecular space where sky meets water.

In the production of images there are different kinds of distances travelled; sometimes it’s a form chosen, observed and recorded, sometimes images are conjured and composed with no disclosure of source or subject. In shape the choreography may be feigned, but O’Malley is interested in its visibility, how the process of scrutiny and selection can be observed and marked. Her video works deliberately present the document of the film as subjective and delimited. They play with the idea of ‘making meaning’ by giving attention.

Niamh O'Malley

Born Co Mayo, Ireland, currently living and working in Dublin, Ireland.

O’Malley uses video, drawing, painting and sculpture, to examine ways in which we try to access the world through images. Her works often act as filters and invite us to enter the spaces between objects and places and our ideas of them.

Recent solo exhibitions include Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017) & (2014), Bluecoat Liverpool, (2015), a five venue solo show ‘The Mayo Collaborative’ Ireland (2013), ‘Garden’, Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2013) Ha Gamle Prestegard, Norway (2012), ‘Model’, Green on Red Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2011), ‘Island’, Centre Culturel Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2010), ‘Frame, Glass, Black’, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France (2010), ‘Echo’, Gaain Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2010), ‘No Distance’, Void, Derry, Northern Ireland (2009).

Group exhibitions include CAG, Vancouver, Karst, Plymouth, Glucksman Gallery, Cork, eva International, Biennale of Visual Art, Limerick, Tulca Visual Arts Festival, Galway, White Box, New York, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Germany, Maria Stenfors, London.

Her work is included in numerous private & public collections including The Hugh Lane, Dublin City Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Arts Council of Ireland & Galleria Arte Moderna, Turin. Recent critical writings on her practice can be read in Frieze, Artmonthly, ArtReview, Artforum and Paper Visual Art.


Shape (2017), Glasshouse (2014), Nephin (2014), Garden (2013), Quarry (2011), Model (2011), Island (2010), Bridge (2009), Scotoma (2008), Flag (2008), Torch (2008), Big Wheel (2008), Memorial Gardens (2008), The dene 'vignette' (2004)