Denis O’Connor

Séance, 2016

steel, porcelain neolith panels, tree branches, found tools
2,665 x 2,000 x 2,000 mm


…the girl in her mother’s long coat raised the carpenter’s level. The group of four figures froze like porcelain statuettes in the alcoves of the branches, each assuming their given role. They had entered into the private realm of their tree-theatre. No adults were present or would ever decipher the tree’s proclamations. Their stage play, trance-like and hypnotic, could begin.

A leaf was passed to each, as if it were the tongue of the tree. One by one the leaves they held were buttered with the stamen-paste that the tree had made in its natural hollows. The pretence of chewing was the beginning of their séance-play. They disappeared into the tree-theatre with their father’s tools … and each tool they chose from his workshop became their talisman…

– Denis O’Connor

Denis O’Connor

born 1947, Auckland
Lives and works on Waiheke Island

Denis O’Connor’s sculpture ranges from public monuments to the most private of intimate narratives in small scale works. An interest in design and career in sculptural ceramics has been combined with collaborations with poets and architects.

O’Connor has undertaken numerous public commissions and his work is represented in museum collections in New Zealand. He has been the recipient of many prestigious awards and residencies, including the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship, the Moet & Chandon Art Fellowship and the Rathcoola Fellowship, Ireland. The subject of the documentaries Mindspaces: The Artists Studio (2014) and The Stones on my Tongue (2004), O’Connor has also published two monographs: What the Roof Dreamt (Two Rooms Gallery 2007) and Big Aitche, Little Aitche (Gow Langsford Gallery 1999) and a third, The Tangler, is due 2017.

Represented by Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland.