Galway man Kevin O’Kelly has won the RDS Taylor Art Award of €10,000 for his BA work Something About the Way You Look which was announced at the launch of the RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition on Tuesday. Kevin follows an illustrious roll-call of previous winners such as Harry Clarke, Seán Keating, Louis Le Brocquy, Dorothy Cross, Maria McKinney, Sam Keogh and many others. Kevin was presented the prestigious award by fellow Galwegian, RDS President Bernie Brennan.
The NCAD student’s winning installation paces the line between solitude and loneliness, highlighting the sense of disconnection sometimes felt in modern urban living.
He is interested in the balance between the value of time spent on your own with your thoughts and the difficulties that can arise from a lack of meaningful relationships with others. He is motivated by a desire to create an immersive environment that encourages reflection, thought, and empathy in the lives of others
Something About the Way You Look is an interactive installation which consists of a small corridor leading into a room. The instructions are to enter the room alone and sit down. Upon doing so, the visitor is suddenly aware that they have a view through the window into a room across the road. Attendance is limited to one person at a time to enable the development of a unique relationship between the viewer and what they encounter in the space.
Speaking about the winning work, exhibition curator Nick Miller said: Kevin has created an extraordinary immersive artwork in which you the viewer participates in its realisation. As you go alone through the door of his installation It is like entering a living painting, an unsettling encounter. His work engages with contemporary art on multiple levels of medium including film, painting, sculpture and performance to address complex feelings of loneliness human contact in modern society. His highly ambitious constructed installation makes us question ourselves as we look at others and are seen ourselves.
Kevin was born in Galway and is from a family of artists and craftsmen. His father runs pottery classes for adults and children, which Kevin grew up attending and then eventually teaching himself. He qualified from the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills and Design Course in 2012. He is currently enrolled in a two year Masters in Fine Art Programme in Digital Art in NCAD.
The RDS Visual Art Awards exhibition runs Wednesday October 25 – Monday October 30. It will also be part of the Metropolis Festival on Sunday October 29, allowing Metropolis ticket holders to visit the exhibition.
The prestigious RDS Taylor Art Award has been presented by the RDS since 1860 and is one of the most important awards for emerging visual artists in Ireland today. Thirteen artists were selected by a judging panel of five for inclusion in the exhibition which is open free to the public and represents the best graduating visual artists of 2017. Earlier in the year the RDS sent eight professional curators to visit the end of year BA and MA degree shows in thirteen art colleges around the country. In total they longlisted 122 graduates, who were invited to apply for the awards. The arts are a key component of the RDS mission to see Ireland thriving culturally and economically.
- Stephanie McGowan- Graduate of IT Sligo
- Yvonne Casburn Graduate of GMIT Galway
- Ara Devine, from Donegal from NCAD & raised in Gaeltacht as native Irish Speaker
- The Taylor Award Prize winner: Kevin O’Kelly from Galway
More about the RDS Visual Arts Awards at rds.ie