Mr. Tom O’Dea

Lecturer, Coordinator of Visual Art Studies Division
Contemporary Art, Art History and Theory

Mr. Tom O’Dea is an Irish visual artist living and working in Hong Kong. He received a BA (Honours) degree in Fine Art (Painting) at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and a Masters in Fine Art (Painting- research by practice) at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.


Mr. O’Dea’s main research interests include contemporary art, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Post-Minimalism. His art practice is heavily informed by the legacies of Modernist and Minimalist ideologies and often the absurdity of the polemics involved.

Distrusting the aspirations of the grandiose, he intuitively works on a modest scale that engages with both the cache and absurdity of the minimalist gesture. Mr. O’Dea works with a formal restlessness stemming from a wariness of idiom and a deep-seated anxiety of falling into a habit-forming ‘default mode’.

This sees materials with utilitarian associations deflate or forgo any notion of attempted virtuosity or preciousness associated with the use of ‘finer’ media. The parity between the intricately worked and a seemingly provisional resolution likewise questions the primacy of either.

His is a strong position of tentative doubt – the ambition of the work being to exist along the line between the quietly poetic and the borderline pathetic.

2015 reclamation”, nag, Dublin.

2013 pillow shot”, nag, Dublin.

2012 a yellow rose”, Freemasons’ Hall, Dublin

2011 Airport For Shadows”, Cross Gallery, Dublin

2010 All Colours Black Two”, Cross Gallery, Dublin

2009 Camera Obscura”, Light House Cinema, Dublin

2008 All About The Hang”, Cross Gallery, Dublin
“G126 Members Show”, Catalyst Arts, Belfast
“G126 Members Show”, G126, Galway

2007 ” Claremorris Open Exhibition”, Claremorris, Mayo

Individual Creative Artist Award, Galway City Council, 2010.

Artist In Residence, Galway Arts Centre, 2009.

My art practice is a tool for me to interrogate the world around me, often through the lens of existing artworks that form a part of my personal history. My holistic approach to artworks as both a maker and through theory has heavily informed my teaching style.

I feel that a healthy interest in art history and a robust understanding of critical theory is essential to the make-up of a contemporary artist. Developing and deepening this interest amongst AVA students will enable them to engage confidently with the most challenging contemporary art.