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Contemporary Artist Abigail O’Brien’s work employs many media including Photography, Sculpture, Video, Sound and Hand-Made Embroidered objects.

O’Brien’s work explores themes such as ritual, rites of passage and the domestic realm. She is currently working on The Cardinal Virtues, Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence and Justice. O’Brien’s work is in Private and Public collections including, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, The Caldic Collection, Rotterdam, The Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, The Gemeentmuseum, The Netherlands and Centro National des Artes, Mexico.

Born in 1957, she received her MA Fine Art Painting from The National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 1998.

O’Brien is President of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, the first female president of the RHA in 200 years. O’Brien was Secretary of the RHA from 2012 until 2017, the first time a female artist had held this position. As President of the RHA, O’Brien is also an ex-officio Member of the Board of the National Gallery of Ireland.

Abigail O’Brien lives and works in Ireland.

Solo Exhibitions | Current Work | Mixed Group Exhibitions | All Exhibitions

  • Arts Council of Ireland Touring Award, 2013
  • Arts Council of Ireland Travel Bursary, 2013/2014.
  • Arts Bursary Louth County Council, 2010.
  • Elected Full Member Royal Hibernian Academy, Ireland 2010.
  • Culture Ireland Exhibition Bursary, 2005 /2008.
  • The Solomon Sculpture Prize, 2008.
  • Public Art Award, Donegal County Council, 2007/2008.
  • Associate member of the Royal Hibernian Academy, Ireland, 2006.
  • Culture Ireland Exhibition Bursary, 2005.
  • Cultural Relations Committee of Ireland Award, 2003.
  • Arts Council of Ireland Visual Arts Bursary,2003.
  • Project Studio, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, 2001/2002.
  • Arts Council of Ireland/ Aer Lingus Art Flight Award 2000 and 2001.
  • Arts Council of Ireland Visual Arts Bursary, 2000.
  • Residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, 1999.
  • EV+A Prize 1999.
  • Random Access Video Training Symposium, Sculptors’ Society Ireland, 1998.
  • Arts Council of Ireland Visual Arts Bursary, 1997/1998.
  • Arts Council of Ireland Materials Award, 1996.
  • Artists Work Programme (residency), Irish Museum of Modern Art,
  • Dublin, 1996.
  • NCEA National Student of the Year Award, N.C.A.D, 1995.
  • Prudence and the Game of Golf, Abigail O’Brien, published by the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 2017
  • Abigail O’Brien : With Bread, published by Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, 2013
  • Oatfield – Temperance, Abigail O’Brien, published by Donegal County Council Public Art Office, 2009
  • Abigail O’Brien, The Seven Sacraments and The Ritualised Daily Life, essays by Stephanie Rosenthal, Ciaran Benson and Pater Friedhelm Mennekes, published by Haus der Kunst and Steidl, 2004
  • Some Trees, published by Paul Andriesse for the Douglas Hyde Gallery,Dublin 2004
  • Currents, published by The Office Of Public Works, 2004
  • Career Development, Abigail O’Brien, The Visual Arts Sheet, page16, issue 5, 2004
  • Stories, text by Stephanie Rosenthal and essays by Söke Dinkla, Christoph Hochhäusler, Thomas Jäger and Matias Martinez, pub. by Haus der Kunst, Munich,2002
  • Unshärferelation, Fotografie als Dimension der Malerie published by Hatje Cantz, text by Peter FitzGerald, Das Weltliche ins Sakrale, (p.21), 2000
  • Installation Programme 1999,Published by Dunlaoire Rathdown, essay by Abigail O’Brien and Mary Kelly
  • The Challenge of Power, essay by Siun Hanrahan, published by Adapt, Limerick 1999
  • Lautlose Gegenwart, Das Stilleben in der Zeitgenossischen Fotografie, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, catalogue essay by Dr Jessica Mueller 1999
  • Irish Art Now – From the Poetic to the Political, essays by Declan McGonagle, Fintan O’Toole and Kim Levin, published by Independent Curators International, New York, in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, 1999
  • MA Fine Art Degree Show 1998. National College of Art and Design, published by Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, text by Peter FitzGerald, Kitchen Pieces – Confession and Communion, (p.19), 1998
  • Figuration, Works from the Collection of The Irish Museum of Modern Art, text by Catherine Marshall, Curator of the Collection, 1997
  • Representing Women: An Interview with Kiki Smith, by Abigail O’Brien, in Thought Lines, ed. by Sue McNab, published by National College of Art and Design
  • Baptism, Häagen Dazs/Temple Bar Gallery Solo Award catalogue, essay by Medb Ruane, 1996
  • EV+A 96, EV+A 98 and EV+A 99, catalogues


  • Prudence and the Game of Golf, article by Cristín Leach, The Sunday Times Culture, December 10th, p29.
  • Abigail O’Brien, ‘Prudence and the Game of Golf’, Royal Hibernian Academy, 17 November – 20 December 2017, article by Gemma Tipton Frieze, critics Guide to Dublin. 24th November 2017.
  • A big, occasionally noisy, good-natured show. Article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, 30th May, 2017, page 10.
  • An Eating Disorder, Article by Cristín Leach Hughes. The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, Pages 8 and 9, January 8th, 2017.


  • At Home on the Range. Article by Cristín Leach Hughes. The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, pages 8 and 9, April 3rd, 2016.


  • Widen The Circle, Emerging Artists rival big names at the RHA annual show. Article by Cristín Leach Hughes. The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, page 20, June 7th 2015.
  • A Show that’s a year in the life of the RHA Members. Article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, May 26th 2015
  • Abigail O’Brien With Bread, article by Cristín Leach, The Sunday Times Culture, February 15th, p29.


  • Between the Darkness and the Light, article by Gemma Tipton,The Irish Times Life and Culture, April 18th, page 12.The Institute of Director in Ireland magazine, RHA Annual Exhibition,Issue 24, article by Bernice Barrington.


  • Apertures & Anxieties: Artists Celebrate 300 years of TCD’s School of Medicine, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 16 November – 21 December 2011, article by Brenda Moore-McCann, Circa on line Art Magazine. December 2011. Available
  • The Art of Medical Science, Review of the week, article by Desmond O’Neill, British Journal of Medicine, Vol 343, December 10th,2011. Download
  • Is there an Artist in the House? Silent Teachers Medicine on Show. Article by Gemma Tipton, The Irish Times, Week-end Review, page 7,Saturday, October 29th. Web version available Online
  • Dreaming Spires. Article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, The Ticket, Friday, September 23rd, 2011, page 25.
  • Whether you love them or hate them or just don’t take them seriously, there’s no denying that Public Sculptures play a vital role in People’s interactivity with Modern Art. Article by Cristín Leach, Sunday Times Culture, 5th June 2011, pages 16/17.
  • Abigail O’Brien, Temperance, article by andróid,, Dublin, 31st March, 2011.
  • It’s Déjà Vu all over again. Article by Cristín Leach, The Sunday Times Culture, May 29th 2011 – page 15.
  • They may put you off sweets for a while, but Abigail O’Brien’s photographs of an Irish Confectionary Factory are brilliantly brave and seriously insightful Public Art, says Cristín Leach,The Sunday Times, Culture, February 27th, 2011 – pages 12 and 13.Download


  • (selected images from temperance)
  • Socially responsible art? It doesn’t have to send you to sleep. Article by Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times, Week-end Review, The Arts, Page 9, July 3rd, 2010.
  • Abigail O’Brien: Temperance, Reginal Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, November 2009- January 2010. Article by Gregory Mc Cartney
  • comonline review July.
  • Changing Landscapes, article by Gerry McCarthy, Sunday Times Culture, pages 10 & 11
  • Abigail O’Brien’s sweet Photoworks at Galerie Bugdahn and Kaimer, article by Helga Meister, Düsseldorf Kultur, p19 Saturday May 22nd, 2010.
  • Likeyou – The ArtNetwork available online:
  • 2009 Oatfield Exhibition, The Sweet Fantastic, The Donegal Democrat, Review by Marcel Otten


  • Bella, Abigail O’Brien, Galerie Bugdahn und Kaimer,Art News, Review by David Galloway, December 2008, p132/133.
  • Picture Diary, Evening Echo, Tuesday January 8th, photo of Raspberry Decoy by Darragh Mac Sweeney/Provision.
  • Open Season, Irish Examiner, article by Marc O’Sullivan, Dec. 14th, 2008.
  • Open Season on Cork Vertical Invaders, review by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, December.


  • At 177 years old, the RHA’s annual show is a picture – and even sculpture – of health, The Sunday Times Culture, June 3, 2007, article by Cristín Leach,


  • Splendor at the Market, by Alison B Levy, August, 2006


  • Corks Lost Opportunities, Visual Arts 2005, article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, 15/12/05.
  • Vita Activa, article by Sara Keating, In Dublin Magazine, February 2005.
  • RTE ‘The View’ Arts show review 1/2/05.
  • The Seven Ages of Woman, article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, 1/2/05.
  • An Artist who uses her loaf, article by Cristín Leach, The Sunday Times Culture,30/1/05.


  • Die Sieben Sakramente, Abigail O’Brien und der ritualisierte Altlag,article by Cornelia Gockel, Kunst Forum, vol nr 169, page 60, 1/02/04.
  • Frauenarbeit auf irish: “Die Sieben Sacramente”,article by Michael Dultz, Die Welt, page68, 24/02/04.
  • Die Bastion der starken Frauen, article by Matthias Kuhn, GO München, page 31, March, 2004.
  • Munich: Abigail O’Brien at Haus der Kunst, article by Birgit Sonna, translated by
  • Peter FitzGerald, page 94, Circa 108, Summer, 2004.
  • Statements of Intent, article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, page 16, 14/05/04.
  • The Seven Sacraments, Abigail O’Brien, article by Roberta McGrath, Source vol 40, page 70, Autumn 2004.


  • The Rag Tree, article by Aidan Dunne, Irish Times, 10/11/03.
  • Abigail O’Brien; The Rag Tree Series, The Sunday Times Culture, article by Catherine Leen,16/11/03.
  • Marking Time, article by Marianne O’Kane, Irish Arts Review, page 84, vol 21,no 1, Spring 2003.
  • Wie Tarzan im Geschichten-Dschungel, article by Roberta De Righi, Abendzeitung München, 28/03/02.
  • Das Ende ist offen, Die Ausstellung “Stories” im Haus Der Kunst, article by Annette Krauß, Donaukurier,02/04/02.
  • Das wahre Abenteurer findetim Kopf statt, article by Charly Prestele, Allgäuer Zeitung, 03/04/02.
  • Auf der Suche nach verlorenen Geschichten, article by Stephanie Krawehl, Berchtesgadener Anzeiger, 04/04/02.


  • Views from the Margin, article by Medb Ruane, Sunday Times Culture Ireland, 25/11/01.
  • Düsseldorf, Abigail O’Brien, Bugdahn und Kaimer, article by Magdalena Kröner, Flash Art, vol XXXIV, January – February.
  • Re-Enter Ophelia, article by Stefanie Grebe, translated by Andrea Lange, Source, issue 26, Spring.


  • Tod und Aufbruch, (Death and Rebirth), article by Magdalena Kröner, Rheinische Post,10/11/00.
  • Das eisige Ende Von Ophelia, (Ophelia’s icy ending), article by Helga Meister, Westdeutsche Zeitung, 7/11/00.
  • How to Butterfly a Leg of Lamb: Abigail O’Brien and Mary Kelly, article by Susanna Beaumont, The Scotsman, 8/8/00.


  • Playing in the Ruins of Western Culture, article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, 11/08/99.
  • Still Leben im Stilleben, (Still Life in Still Life), article by Ronald Berg, Tagesspiegel, Berlin, 22/05/99.
  • All about EV+A,article by Dorothy Walker, The Sunday Times Culture Ireland, 23/05/99.
  • Limerick’s mini-marathon, article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, 27/05/99.
  • The Silence of the Lamb, article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, 10/03/99.
  • A Women’s Work, article by Ciaran Owens, The Event Guide, March.
  • Abigail O’Brien, Düsseldorf, article by David Galloway, Art News, February.
  • Fotografie in Düsseldorf, article by Uta Maria Reindl, Eikon International Photo Journal, issue 26/27, 1998/1999.


  • Highlights and Classic Flops of the Gallery Year, article by Dorothy Walker,The Sunday Times Culture Ireland, 20/12//98.
  • Das Tägliche Brot (The Daily Bread), article by Klaus Sebastian, Rheinische Post, 30/10/98.
  • Ein Düsseldorf Photoprogramme – Pioniere und Experimente (A Düsseldorf Photoprogramme – Pioneers and Experimenters), article by Ina Weinrautner, Handles Blatt, 03/11/98.
  • Heile Küchenwelt (Healthy Kitchenworld), article by Susanne Henle, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 28/11/98.
  • Altes Licht auf Neue (An Old Light on New Things), article by Helga Meister, Westdeutsche Zeitung, 30/11/98.
  • There is no house style, article by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, 03/06/98.


  • H.A. Banquet Exhibition, article by Elaine Hartigan, Mary Kelly and Peter FitzGerald, Circa no 82, Winter.
  • Passport Exchange; (Ex) Change, review by Alannah Hopkin, The Sunday Times Culture Ireland, 21/12/97.
  • Waiting Spaces, article by Marian Lovett, Circa No. 79 Spring.
  • The Eighth Mostyn Open, article by Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith, Circa No. 79 Spring.


  • The Culture Ireland review of 1996, article by Medb Ruane,
  • The Sunday Times, 29/12/96.
  • Baptism, article by Nicholas Allen, Source, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer
  • Front Cover, Circa No. 76, Summer.
  • Public Understatement, article by Marian Lovett, Circa No 76, Summer.
  • Abigail O’Brien, Temple Bar Gallery, article by Luke Clancy, The Irish Times, 22/05/96.
  • Broadening the Canvas, article by Aidan Dunne, The Sunday Tribune, 05/05/96.
  • Abigail the Baptist, article by Medb Ruane, The Sunday Times, 28/04/96.
  • Diversity of Talent and Approach, article by Brian Fallon, The Irish Times, 27/03/96.
  • The Guy who Made a Joke of EV+A, article by Dunne, The Sunday Tribune, 17/03/96.
  • Subversion by the Shannon, article by Medb Ruane, The Sunday Times, 17/03/96.


  • Degree Showdown, ‘vox pop’, Circa, Autumn 1995, Vol. 73, p. 42.
  • Arty Students, article by Aidan Dunne, The Sunday Tribune, 11/06/95.
  • N.C.A.D. Degree Shows, article by Medb Ruane, The Sunday Times, 11/06/95.