• Contact us
  • Location & visitor info
  • Search
  • Visitor Info
  • Contact us
The Venue

24 October 2017

RDS Visual Art Awards Announced

  • Work on isolationism and solitude in our always-on world wins 2017 RDS Taylor Art Award
  • Fake news, politics, and technology at heart of other prize-winning artwork
  • Exhibition open all week and part of Metropolis Festival offering

Kevin O’Kelly has won the RDS Taylor Art Award of €10,000 for his BA work Something About the Way You Look which was announced at the launch of the RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition tonight (Tuesday, October 24). Kevin follows an illustrious roll-call of previous winners such as Harry Clarke, Seán Keating, Louis Le Brocquy, Dorothy Cross, Maria McKinney, Sam Keogh and many others.

The NCAD student’s winning installation paces the line between solitude and loneliness, highlighting the sense of disconnection sometimes felt in modern urban living. He is interested in the balance between the value of time spent on your own with your thoughts and the difficulties that can arise from a lack of meaningful relationships with others. He is motivated by a desire to create an immersive environment that encourages reflection, thought, and empathy in the lives of others

Something About the Way You Look is an interactive installation which consists of a small corridor leading into a room. The instructions are to enter the room alone and sit down. Upon doing so, the visitor is suddenly aware that they have a view through the window into a room across the road. Attendance is limited to one person at a time to enable the development of a unique relationship between the viewer and what they encounter in the space.

Speaking about the winning work, exhibition curator Nick Miller said: Kevin has created an extraordinary immersive artwork in which you the viewer participates in its realisation. As you go alone through the door of his installation It is like entering a living painting, an unsettling encounter. His work engages with contemporary art on multiple levels of medium including film, painting, sculpture and performance to address complex feelings of loneliness human contact in modern society. His highly ambitious constructed installation makes us question ourselves as we look at others and are seen ourselves.

Last year’s winner of the RDS Taylor Art Award, Elaine Hoey, was this year awarded the R.C. Lewis Crosby Award (€5000) for her interactive virtual reality MA work Stranger Than Fiction is Fact. This work absorbs the viewer into a world that draws distinct parallels with our own, touching upon political systems, new technologies and fake news. Elaine was also made the first recipient of a new three-month residency award (summer 2018) in partnership with the Centre Culturel Irlandais (CCI) in Paris. The Director of CCI selected the winner from the exhibitors who applied for the residency. This award is sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran who have a strong track record of supporting Irish artists.

According to Nick Miller: Elaine is working, even as a graduate, at the forefront of the use of virtual reality in art, her work, while using some of the language of gaming technology is in no way a game. Stranger Than Fiction is Fact directly addresses fake news and how our perceptions of reality have been undermined by the loss of a sense of truth in the media and our political engagement in the world.

The RDS Visual Art Awards exhibition runs Wednesday October 25 - Monday October 30. It will also be part of the Metropolis Festival on Sunday October 29, allowing Metropolis ticket holders to visit the exhibition.

Tours & Talks

There are a number of free curator tours of the exhibition on Wednesday – Friday October 25-27. See www.rds.ie/visualart for further detail and how to book. Nick Miller will also speak about his own work in 'Encounter: Painting and the World As You Find It' on Thursday 26 at 6.30pm as part of the RDS Library Speaker Series.

The Competition

The arts are a key component of the RDS mission to see Ireland thriving culturally and economically. The RDS Visual Art Awards has a total prize fund of €27,000 and follows the long-standing RDS tradition of supporting emerging Irish artistic talent. Independent college curators were employed by the RDS to visit thirteen end-of-degree shows all around Ireland and longlist the best as contenders to exhibit. 122 artists were longlisted in this way, with thirteen then shortlisted by the judging panel to display their work at the RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition. The four winners were then selected from the thirteen exhibitors.

All exhibiting artists receive a stipend of €500. The RDS does not charge any commission for any of the work that is sold.



Judging Panel:

Noel Kelly, CEO Visual Arts Ireland & RDS Member – Chair

Nick Miller, Artist – Curator

Colin Martin - RHA Nominated Judge

Seán Kissane - IMMA Nominated Judge

Lesley Tully - NGI Nominated Judge


College Curators:

Ruth Carroll                RHA

Mary Conlon               Ormston House, Limerick

Riann Coulter              FE Mc William Gallery

Darragh Hogan           Kerlin Gallery

Mary McCarthy           National Sculpture Factory

Belinda Quirke            Solstice Arts Centre

Aoife Ruane                Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda

Cliodhna Shaffrey       Temple Bar Gallery & Studios

Share this page

Get RDS updates in your inbox.

Get All RDS Venue updates into your inbox

If you want to stay informed on the RDS Philanthropic society click here.