Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Cassie-Lee O'Rourke 

BA [Hons] Art

Cassie-Lee O’Rourke is a Wicklow-based artist whose main focus is representing figures and their vulnerability in relation to their environment. She uses people from her own life as references for the finished pieces. Her works has a sculptural element, with paper folded at different angles to enclose the figures. She uses simple lines, shapes and colours in the background to provide a spatial setting, without distracting from the figures. Her work aims to capture a sense of being exposed in the moment. Her work was exhibited in the show In the Making: Butter, in Pallas Project/Studios (2023).

Project Description

My project Sonder explores the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. I want the audience to experience sonder while viewing my work. My subjects are painted on watercolour paper with folded edges to create walls around the figure, giving the impression that they are unaware of the viewer's presence. These figures have body parts that are unravelling, suggesting a vulnerability that becomes evident when they believe themselves to be alone. Deflect is a more recent project, exploring a different type of vulnerable state. These figures are in danger rather than at peace within their own space. I recorded my subjects reacting when objects were thrown at them, often bending their bodies in visually interesting ways. I was interested in how every individual reacted differently to potential dangers as this showed a raw, unmasked side of each figure.

Surrealism and Misogyny, Women as Art vs. Artist

The topic of my thesis is the misogyny that took place in the world of surrealism in the early 20th century to modern day. The main purpose was to explore the lives of women in Surrealism and the contrast between how they were perceived through the male gaze and how they wanted to be perceived. Women were popular subjects to paint throughout the Surrealism timeline. When it came to women depicting themselves it was a struggle to be accepted into the exclusive circles of surrealist artists due to their gender. The chapters consist of surrealism and heterosexual norms that were relevant from 1920 onwards, women as the object in artworks and women as the artist. I also write in detail about the male gaze and how it was portrayed in artworks in to 1920’s onwards compared to modern day film.