ARTIST Laurence O’Toole
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clark
Laurence O’Toole’s work is sculptural and lens based. He has a background in graphic design and metalworking and is based near Carne, Co. Wexford. In 2017 and 2020 he secured funding from Artlinks and recently had his first solo show at The Leitrim Sculpture Centre. His main areas of research are land art, science fiction literature and film, astronomy, archaeology and environmental concerns.
Having grown up in South County Dublin, O’Toole originally studied art and design at the nearby Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design (now I.A.D.T.), graduating in 1990. After working in advertising and graphic design he gravitated to craft and metalwork, setting up a custom motorbike workshop with a group of friends in the late 90s. He then took the skills garnered at his workshop and worked in industrial metal fabrication and light engineering. In 2004 he moved to Carne in the south east of County Wexford and in 2011 he enrolled in the IT Carlow fine art honours degree course.
After graduating with first class honours in 2014, O’Toole began to develop his practice, exhibit work in some local groups shows, while also working part-time as a gallery technician and documentary photographer. He secured funding from Artlinks in 2017 and was accepted in the MA Art and Process course at Crawford College of Art in 2018. In the summer of 2018 he was granted an MA student residency at IMMA and partook in the IRON-R casting workshop at The Sculpture Factory, Cork.
Since graduating from MA:AP, O’Toole has been expanding his skill base, exploring new materials and forming new methodologies for his photography. In 2019 he was awarded a bursary from Artlinks and a six-week residency at The Leitrim Sculpture Centre in conjunction with the Wexford County Council Arts Department. It was here he focused on photography, mould making, metal casting and developing new sculptural forms. At the end of this residency he was invited to hold a solo show at the Centre’s gallery in the spring of 2020. Due to Covid-19 this show was postponed until August 2020 where it ran for three weeks.
‘Tribute to Extreme Weather’, Laurence O’Toole, 2014
Building the Unkown, 2020
“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
– Carl Sagan
My practice responds to the environment and our relationship with nature. The work examines a compression of astronomical proportions relative to the human experience, it considers the science/pseudo-science boundary, modern mythology and anxiety. I experiment with multidisciplinary methods, from staged scenes to highly crafted work. These produce imagery and forms that can evoke elemental forces or scientific inquiry, establishing a material connection with cosmic cycles and natural phenomena.
By exploring this visual language I want to reflect scientific reality and subvert destructive systems. By initiating a connection with nature and the cosmological I invite the viewer to reflect upon the environment and the unnatural forces that impact upon it.
- M.A. Art & Process, First class honours. C.I.T. Crawford College of Art and Design – 2018
- BA Hons Art, First class honours. IT Carlow, Wexford Campus, 2011 – 2014.
- NCEA Certificate & NCEA Diploma, Visual Communications & Design Communications, Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design – , 1986 – 1990.
- 2020: FORCE MAJEURE. Solo Show, Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim.
- 2019: Force – Effect – Response, The Creative Hub, Wexford.
- 2019: PERIPHERIES 2019, Gorey Art School, Gorey, Co. Wexford
- 2019: ARTWORKS 2019, Visual, Carlow.
- 2019: K-Fest 2019, Killorglin, Co. Kerry
- 2019: CATCH 2019, Stella Maris, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford.
- 2018: Memories of a Nervous System, The Gallery, No. 46 Grand Parade, Cork
- 2018: IRON – R 2018, The National Sculpture Factory, Cork
- 2017: Textured Landscape, Grantstown Church, Co. Wexford.
- 2017: EVO Festival, Fusion, Wexford.
- 2017: CATCH 2017, Stella Maris, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford.
- 2016: Parallax installed, WebLvr Expo, Wexford.
- 2016: S.P.A.R.A. / Stormy Petrel, G.P.O. Dublin.
- 2016: S.P.A.R.A. / Stormy Petrel, VISUAL, Carlow.
- 2015: The Living Arts Project 2015, Wexford Arts Centre.
- 2015: Aftermath (screening), Wexford Documentary Film Festival.
- 2015: Wasteland – In Response, Wexford Arts Centre.
- 2015: Postcard, Saturday Gallery, Wexford.
- 2015: Round, Saturday Gallery, Wexford.
- 2014: 13 Degrees, The Wexford Arts Centre.
- 2014: 13 Degrees, VOID, Derry.
- 2014: RDS Student Art Award, RDS Concert Hall, Dublin.
- 2014: RDS Student Art Award, Bourn Vincent Gallery, University of Limerick.
- 2013: Public art project Departures, Fettits Lane, Wexford (Funded by Wexford Co.Co.)
- 2020: Westival 2020. Festival Group Show. Westport, Co. Mayo
- 2013: Group Show @ Wexford Opera Festival.
- 2013: Group Show @ The Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival.
Awards & Residencies
- 2020 Leeward, curated residency at Cow House Studios
- 2020 Artlinks Bursary Award
- 2019 Professional Development Residency at Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Funded by Wexford Co. Co.
- 2019 Shortlisted for An Urgent Enquiry Residency Commission
- 2018 MA Student Residency at IMMA, Dublin.
- 2017 Artlinks Bursary Award
- 2014 Shortlisted for RDS Student Art Awards