Seen and Unseen, Olivia O’Dwyer

Opening: 3 Aug 2024, 19:00 - 21:00

1 Aug 2024 – 17 Aug 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 16:00
10:00 – 16:00
10:00 – 16:00

Free admission

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The Lido Stores

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Thanet Loop
  • Margate
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The Lido Stores is delighted to present Seen and Unseen, a much-anticipated solo exhibition by Lido Open 2023 winner Olivia O’Dwyer.


Seen and Unseen takes its title from Irish writer and art critic Cristín Leach’s memoir Negative Space, where the author wrote, ‘There is more to be found in what is said between the gaps, between what is seen and unseen’, and indeed, O’Dwyer’s paintings present a rich tapestry of real and imagined narratives, spanning landscapes, figurative scenes and intimate interior vignettes, each piece inviting viewers to contemplate a world where the lines between reality and imagination are blurred. 

Her paintings are deeply allegorical, evoking contemplation and curiosity, often falling between abstraction and realistic representation. Rather than presenting definitive answers, her work raises poignant questions about perception, reality, and the unseen elements that shape our understanding of the world. Through colour, form and composition, O’Dwyer encourages viewers to engage with the seen and unseen aspects of their own narratives.

“The landscape series outlines a continued response to living in the countryside,” says O’Dwyer, “an observation on contemporary rural Ireland. By turning my gaze to the external world, it further examines themes on solitude and the human condition in a more nuanced way.” The figurative elements, meanwhile, are described by the artist as “an ongoing analysis of the self, of my own body experience”, drawing on issues affecting women’s health and wellbeing. “The figure is deconstructed and obscured to give a heightened receptivity toward their surroundings. The images are an impossible physiognomy of the body, referencing art historical context such as the neoclassical painter Ingres and the style of Mannerism with its sensual distortion of the body.”

In her interior vignettes, O’Dwyer says, she uses the emotive resonance of colour and texture to create “fictional interior scenes that carry an open narrative, where furniture is a character in and of itself”. Many of her paintings are formed loosely from referencing found images, calling on her own childhood memories to draw out the subject matter.

Olivia O’Dwyer is a visual artist from Limerick, living in County Wexford, Ireland. She has exhibited both internationally and nationally, with her most recent shows including HomeBird (2024) and A Mind’s Eye (2022) at Kevin Kavanagh gallery, Dublin. Selected group exhibitions include RHA annual and a two-person show, New Neighbours, at South Tipperary Arts Centre (2024); RuaRed, Home and Displacement, Dublin, 2023; Beep Painting Biennial, Swansea (2022); ‘From the Mountain’, Wexford Arts Centre, with the Arts Council Collection of Ireland (2019), and a two-week residency in Kathmandu, Nepal (2018) in association with Wexford Arts Centre and Culture Ireland. 

O’Dwyer was awarded a Visual Art Bursary and Agility award (2022-23), an Artlinks bursary (2020-2023), a Tyrone Guthrie residency (2023) from Wexford Co. Council, and the Making and Momentum artist prize from artist and designer Richard Malone and Creative Ireland. She has written for the Visual Artists News Sheet, and was featured in The Sunday Independent, Sunday Times and RTE Culture online and the VAI newssheet.

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Olivia O’Dwyer


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