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The Venue

RDS Visual Art Awards Winners

2017 RDS Visual Art Awards Winners


Kevin O'Kelly - RDS Taylor Art Award €10,000

Kevin O’Kelly won the 2017 RDS Taylor Art Award of €10,000 for his BA work Something About the Way You Look. 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 with 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 and human contact in modern society. His highly ambitious constructed installation makes us question ourselves as we look at others and are seen ourselves.


Elaine Hoey - R.C. Lewis-Crosby Award​ (€5,000) & RDS Culturel Irlandais Residency Award

Last year’s winner of the RDS Taylor Art Award, Elaine Hoey, was awarded the 2017 R.C. Lewis Crosby Award (€5,000) for her interactive virtual reality MA work Stranger Than Fiction is Fact. This work absorbs the viewer into a world that draws distinct parallels with our own, touching upon political systems, new technologies and fake news. Elaine was also made the first recipient of a new three-month residency award (summer 2018) in partnership with the Centre Culturel Irlandais (CCI) in Paris. The Director of CCI selected the winner from the exhibitors who applied for the residency. This award is sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran who have a strong track record of supporting Irish artists.

According to the curator of the exhibition, Nick Miller: Elaine is working, even as a graduate, at the forefront of the use of virtual reality in art. Her work, while using some of the language of gaming technology is in no way a game. Stranger Than Fiction is Fact directly addresses fake news and how our perceptions of reality have been undermined by the loss of a sense of truth in the media and our political engagement in the world.

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