Tina O’Connell: Snow White Ground

Tina O’Connell and Penelope Curtis

The show I chose for Cubitt in 1994 was (and indeed still is) the only show I have ever curated in London. For me, at that time, and all those years ago, it was a nice way of doing something I could never have done at Tate Gallery Liverpool (as it was then) and where I was working at the time. Apart from that kind of freedom, it was also a way of working with artists whom I knew rather as friends, and to see how that worked out. Tina O’Connell and Andrew Sabin are still making sculpture and Stephen Elson has become, relevantly enough, a successful producer of special effects. Tina was in fact the artist I knew least well at that time, and she stood out rather as someone whom I hadn’t chosen to be in a Tate exhibition. Those artists whose work (and personalities) arrest you, but who don’t quite fit into the group show you’re working on, are always like the kind of good irritants that a curator needs.

I think I thought that I wanted to make a show about materials partly because it wasn’t a Tate-like show, but also because materials weren’t being talked about. The three artists I chose were (and are) completely at home with making, and at that time an interest in making wasn’t much in evidence. They also had an interest in the links (more or less visible) between tactility and opticality; between making things evident, and making things deceptive. I never thought of Tina as a print maker, but she has found here a way of making it make sense, alongside her other works which rely on primary material properties.

Cubitt was important for me in those early years, not so much for the show I did (even if I enjoyed having an exhibition opening in London), but for the artists I met there, including Giorgio Sadotti, Sadie Murdoch (both of whom I was able to work with later on, at the Henry Moore Institute), Jane Simpson, Silke Otto-Knapp, Peter Doig and Dexter Dalwood. It was a way into a London context for a curator working outside London, and that background hasn’t gone away, even if Cubitt has gone through several changes since then, with its sophisticated curatorial approach making mine seem increasingly naive.

Tina O’Connell

Selected Exhibitions

2012 O’Connell/White, Transformer Gallery, Washington(solo)
2004 Tina O’Connell, The Jerwood Platform, Jerwood Gallery, London
2004 Tina O’Connell, Limerick City Art Gallery, Ireland (solo)
2002 In-visible, 2, 3 and 4, Collage des Irelandais, Paris, France (solo)
1999 In Dublin, The Barley Mow, Dublin, Ireland (solo)
1997 Do Touch, Do Not Touch, Spacex Gallery, Exeter (solo)
1996 In-visible 1, Friche, Belle De Mai, Marseille, France(solo)
1995 Untitled, Kunstbunka, Munich (solo)
1995 Absolutely no Stilettos, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, Ireland (solo)
1994 Material Evidence, Cubitt, London

Selected Collections

British Council Collection


1987-88 M.A. Sculpture, Chelsea School of Art, England
1988-89 Post Diploma Sculpture, Marseilles College of Art, France