Deirdre O’Mahony’s research and art practice is grounded in collaborative engagements with different publics and communities. She completed completed a PhD New Ecologies Between Rural Life and Visual Culture in the West of Ireland: History, Context, Position, and Art Practice at the University of Brighton in 2012. She revived a defunct rural post-office as a public space, “X-PO”, to reflect the complex social, psychological, economic and natural issues affecting rural life and landscapes. Animated by a process of collaborative exhibition-making and the co-creation of artworks, X-PO made visible some of the invisible histories, unconscious projections and expectations underlying place-based attachments. The project was the 2007 artwork in Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks and is included in Tania Bruguera’s Arte Útil Archive.
Subsequent research has reflected on the contemporary relevance of tacit, place-based knowledge. SPUD examines ideas of sustainability, food security and rural/urban relationships, through potato projects in Ireland, USA, Spain and the UK, most recently The Village Plot at the Irish Museum of Modern Art as part of the Grizedale Arts research residency A Fair Land. A new film, The Persistent Return received an Arts Council Project award to conclude SPUD, and is currently in production as part of the Callan Workhouse Guild Project, supported by the Arts Council//An Chomhairle Ealaíonn project award, 2016. In 2017 further projects are in development for Fingal Coyunty Council, Resort Residency, and Grasslands, curated by Birgitte Kristensen and Lene Noer for Aarhaus European Capital of Culture, Denmark.
O’Mahony has published and been written about extensively, had numerous national and international gallery and museum exhibitions, and been awarded fellowships and residencies including a Pollock-Krasner Award and Arts Council of Ireland bursaries. She is also an academic and lecturer at the Centre for Creative Arts and Media, GMIT, Galway.