Elinor O'Donovan

Elinor O'Donovan
1 September to 29 September 2022
Studio 1

I am a Cork-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice references internet memes, cartoons, and film and TV tropes. Through playful sculpture, collage, drawing and installations I am interested in teasing out the ways that familiarity with common tropes in popular culture allows us to form cognitive shortcuts, influencing how we understand the world around us.

In August 2021, I held my first major solo exhibition with Sample-Studios in the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion, Cork. The show, titled Brain Worms was a humorous exploration of the ‘digital divide’, the perceived separation between the ‘real’ and digital worlds. Following this, my second solo exhibition Brain Worms: Redux at 126 Artist-Run Gallery, Galway, in October 2021 referenced Francis Ford Coppola’s 2001 remake of Apocalypse Now (‘Apocalypse Now: Redux’) by re-imagining the work of the first exhibition. In Brain Worms: Redux, the works appeared as if they were juvenilised, where their prior presentation methods regressed into sketchier, looser forms. This aimed to question what use can art be, what influence can it have if it is inarticulate and unformed?

While at Uillinn in 2022 I will continue to develop the third instalment in this series, entitled Brain Worms 3: The Brainening. I wish to spend 4 weeks researching and developing my practice, in relation to internet culture, memes, comedy, cartoons and cinema tropes. I aim to develop a “meme art” cartoon drawing workshop for primary school children in 3rd- 6th class, and to begin to discuss the idea of creating a body of work for exhibition with children as the intended audience. What might an exhibition aimed at children look like? I intend to develop a digital collage in response to the “meme art” made by children in the workshop, which can then be displayed on a billboard in Skibbereen or the surrounding area.

I plan on taking advantage of Uilinn’s strong public engagement programme by developing a “meme art” workshop aimed at primary school children between 3rd and 6th class. In partnership with a local primary school, the “meme art” workshop aims to teach children about memes and collective making, and will include fun, creative drawing activities which allow them to embrace their own senses of humour. For example, they might draw quick responses to prompts such as “my face when ___”, or “that feeling when ___”, or they could come up with quick-fire captions for already popular internet memes. At the end of the workshop, I will photograph/scan the children’s responses for documentation.

Elinor O’Donovan is an emerging multidisciplinary artist from Cork City whose work responds to internet culture, meme humour, cartoons and comedy. She makes playful digital collages, sculptures, drawings, and installations which investigate various forms of popular culture, referencing tv tropes, internet memes and dad jokes. In 2021, she presented her first solo exhibition in Cork City titled Brain Worms following her Graduate Studio Residency at Sample-Studios, Cork. In 2021, she received the Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary Award, the Arts Council Agility Award, Cork City Council Individual Artist Bursary Award and the inaugural Cork International Film Festival Commission Award.




Top: Elinor O'Donovan, The Big Tongue is Coming' For You and Everyone You Care About'. 1-2
Lower: Photo credit Jed Niezgoda, Elinor O'Donovan, Brain Worms


WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.

©2023 West Cork Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.