Alumni News: Kevin O’Dwyer Naughton Institute commission

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Kevin is a sculptor, silversmith and recent graduate of the MA in Cultural Policy programme, and has recently completed a commission to mark the official opening of the Naughton Institute. For more information on the piece click below– and congrats Kevin on this achievement!


Artist Statement

Naughton Institute
Trinity College Dublin

In November 2007 I was asked by Trinity Foundation to create an artistic interpretation of the Naughton Institute building to be presented to Martin Naughton during the official opening ceremony. After researching the use of the building and studying the drawings and architectural renderings, I decided to take on this challenge. As an artist with a biochemistry background, who channelled his creativity into the arts as opposed to scientific research, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to pursue

My own sculptures tend to use strong architectural forms so I was immediately attracted to this beautifully designed building. From studying the blueprints and the original rendered drawings, I selected a series of shapes that resonate with the essence of this building. One of the challenges in viewing an expansive building on site is to feel the sense of the overall shape and the architectural forms and parts that make it whole. From working with the drawings I selected key elements from the outer skin that inspired me and then created my artistic interpretation of the Naughton Institute.

The materials used for the commission are sterling silver, bronze and granite. I selected sterling silver for the large front façade of glass. The silver was engraved with the lines of the glass panels to give a sense of scale to the piece. The lower floors are pierced open to highlight the strong columnar forms that penetrate the second floor and move towards the roof. This opening creates a space were light flows and generates a series of reflections that interact with the silver, bronze and granite. This space invites the public into the building to explore the creativity and innovation of the Naughton Institute. Bronze at the back of the building mirrors the use of copper cladding on its upper floors. As part of the building is faced in granite, I decided to use a piece of quarried granite for one of the sides and its base. The roofline posed an interesting challenge and I found an early architectural rendering that reminded me of a Neolithic passage grave! Although this cannot be viewed from street level I found it to be a strong architectural form that should be highlighted. I decided to fabricate this form in bronze and frame it with a sterling silver eyebrow that overlaps the building.

It was an exciting challenge and a pleasure to work on this commission for the Trinity Foundation. It was an honour to make this presentation piece for Martin Naughton, a man who has embraced innovation and creativity throughout his life.

Thank you.

Kevin O’Dwyer