rest things

12 Jun 2019 – 26 Jun 2019

Event times

Exhibition Period: 13th June – 26th June 2019
Time: Tuesday to Sundays 11 am – 7 pm (closed on Mondays)

1a space

Hong Kong, Hong Kong


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1a space proudly presents rest things, a solo exhibition by Tom O’dea.


rest things-a solo exhibition by Tom O’dea

rest thingsis a solo exhibition by Tom O’Dea bringing together very recent works alongside works from the past ten years. The exhibition title rest thingsreferences the Japanese poetic tradition of ‘rest words’ (makura kotoba) - the use of seemingly tangential words to allude to classical poetry by means of sound, association or meaning. The words themselves lose literal meaning, but form a nuanced rhizome-like set of associations within a vast tradition. A similar dynamic is at play in the encountered vernacular situations that initiate the works in this exhibition. rest thingsfollows on from a 2015 exhibition reclamation(Dublin, Ireland) that dealt obliquely with ideas of displacement and belonging. Encountered visual situations are interrogated and quoted out of context. Ready-to-hand vernacular forms and materials are cut off from intended use and re-purposed as visual frames of reference in an effort to come to terms with being in a place removed from erstwhile aesthetic benchmarks. The very recent works further the artist’s research into the space between painting and sculpture, utilising 3D modelling and printing technologies in combination with traditional ceramic-shell bronze casting techniques in the making of an articulated cast-bronze painting.


Opening Reception:

12th June 2019 6:30pm

Artist Talk: 

12th June 2019 7:00pm

Guest:Prof. Louis Nixon (Director Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU)

On the occasion of the opening of rest things, Tom O’Dea will discuss his expanded painting practice with Prof. Louis Nixon. This conversation will explore his preoccupations and shifting processes and the development of his painting practice away from the literal application of paint. Amongst other things, they will discuss how an object that might otherwise be considered a ‘sculpture’ can function in the mode of painting despite its means.

Exhibition Period: 13th June – 26th June 2019


Artist Statement

Tom O’Dea’s practice is one of painting by other means. His work reconsiders the late modernist critique of painting while testing boundaries of what can be formally considered to be within the territory of painting. He tends to work on a modest scale that engages with both the cache and absurdity of the minimalist gesture. O’Dea works with a formal restlessness stemming from a wariness of idiom and an 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 expanded painting practice occupies a position of tentative doubt with the ambition of the work being to exist along the line between the quietly poetic and the borderline pathetic.



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. He teaches at the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University.

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