Eamon O’Kane (born 1974, Belfast, Northern Ireland) explores the ideological tropes and visual forms of modernist architecture in his paintings and immersive sculptural installations. He received his B.A. in the History of Art and Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland in 1996 and went on to earn his M.F.A. at the University of Ulster, Belfast in 1998 and later an additional M.F.A. in Design Technology at Parsons School of Design, New York in 2001.
O’Kane has exhibited internationally, and recent solo exhibitions include The Model Arts Centre, Sligo, Ireland (2022); Galerie DGV, Svendborg, Denmark (2022); Galerie Andres Thalmann, Zuirch, Switzerland (2020); Josef Filipp Galerie, Leipzig, Germany (2019); Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, Ireland (2019); Funen Art Museum, Odense, Denmark (2019); and Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA (2019), Trykkeriet, Bergen (2022), Høyersten Contemporary, Bergen (2023), Norske Grafikere (2023) and Source Arts Centre, Ireland (2023).
His work is held in the public collections of Burda Museum, Baden Baden, Germany; Lentos Art Museum, Linz, Austria; Museum of Fine Arts, Brest, France; and The Arts Council Collection, Ireland.
He has been awarded Norwegian Arts Council Grant and the EV+A Biennial Award and previously a Fulbright Award, Pollock Krasner Foundation Award, and Taylor Art Award.
Eamon O'Kane has taken part in many residencies including Trykkeriet, Bergen (2022), ARP at The Irish Museum of Modern Art (2004), The Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship at the BSR in Rome (2006) and at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris (2008).
O'Kane's research involves among other things the examination of the legacy of Frederich Froebel on modern society.
The result of this research mainly takes the form of interactive installations, that have been shown in exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Limerick, Quimper and Dublin Contemporary 2011, taking inspiration from artists, architects, and designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky and Charles Eames, educated in early childhood using the methods of Frederich Froebel. These highly interactive installations cross a wide range of disciplines and social structures examining Froebel's legacy whilst exploring the links between the natural world and the development of creativity.
Beginning with the historical context of the research my artworks develop the argument that within Froebel´s legacy we can locate the seedbed of modern art. Froebel designed the educational play materials known as Froebel Gifts, or Fröbel gaben, which included geometric building blocks and pattern activity blocks. With its emphasis on abstract decomposition and building up from elemental forms, the original kindergarten system of the mid-nineteenth century created an education and design revolution that profoundly affected the course of modern art and architecture, as well as physics, music, psychology and the modern mind itself. His installations could also be referred to as archives or "research-based-projects". They are participative in the sense that the audience can change the work by using the materials placed at their disposal. In a truly experimental way the straightforward boundaries between production and reception have become permeable.
- (2021). «Palimpsest. Materien, Gesten og Sjelen: Møter mellom billedkunst, arkeologi og prehistorisk kunst». .
- (2018). EGU2018-14237 The art of exchanging weather stories .
- (2021). The Palimpsest. Universitetet i Oslo.
- (2023). Ocean Stories / Havhistorier. .
- (2018). Hyperobjects.
- (2019). Large maps and colourful squares: Teaching climate models through dialogue and play.
His monographs include
Eamon O’Kane: And Time Begins Again (University of Bergen, 2019);
Eamon O’Kane: Hybrids (Academy of Art and Design, Norway, 2013);
Eamon O’Kane: Case Histories (ArtSway and Rugby Art Museum, UK, 2009).
He is Co-Principal Investigator on the NFR funded research project Climate Narratives.
He is Work Package Leader on the NFR funded project Extending Digital Narratives which is situated at the Centre of excellence CDN
He is an artist participant in the NARP project Matter Gesture Soul.
Eamon O'Kane has exhibited widely and is the recipient of many awards and scholarships including the Taylor Art Award, The Tony O'Malley Award and a Fulbright Award. He has shown in exhibitions curated by Dan Cameron, Lynne Cooke, Klaus Ottman, Salah M. Hassan, Jeremy Millar, Mike Fitzpatrick, Sarah Pierce, Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, Angelika Nollert, Yilmaz Dziewior and Apinan Poshyananda. He has taken part in EV+A, Limerick, Ireland seven times including 2005 when he received an EV+A open award from Dan Cameron. In 2006 he was short-listed for the AIB Prize and received a Pollock Krasner foundation grant.