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Abigail O'Brien - 2005

Fortitude is Abigail O’Brien’s first show in her exploration of the Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude. These are the hinges on which moral virtues were said to depend; “they govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to faith and reason”. The Virtues can be achieved through human effort – they are therefore valid, attainable and worthy.

In examining Fortitude, the virtue of courage, O’Brien questions; Who the courageous are, How courage manifests itself in contemporary culture and What are the gender issues? In her sculpture and photography she deconstructs the familiar masculine terrain of military hardware, male bonding and learned gender roles.