Gabby O'Connor

Sculptor, installation artist, educator and researcher based in Wellington.

Gabby is a sculptor, installation artist, educator and researcher based in Wellington. Fascinated with science and ice, her collaborative projects with NIWA’s Antarctic ice-ocean science team – particularly with physical oceanographer Dr Craig Stevens – have twice seen her visit Antarctica, both to make and inform her art and to assist the team in their research.

To recreate and communicate the formation of ice, Gabby uses dyed paper, lights, rope and recycled materials. She captures the scale of physical processes in the Antarctic environment, making large works that fill rooms and cover ceilings. Her largest installation to date, ‘Inland Ice’, was a sculpture of the Ross Ice Shelf that bordered the festival site of NZIceFest 2014.

Inland Ice (2014)

Her 2016 exhibition, Studio Antarctica, showcased sculptures of sea-ice formations and ice platelets, as well as photography, painting, drawing and video works from her time on the ice.

Gabby was interviewed on Radio New Zealand, Standing Room Only, about Studio Antarctica.



Studio Antarctica (2016)

Gabby’s social arts practice sees her collaborate with children and the wider community, conducting workshops to involve the public to create large-scale artworks. This collaborative approach helps her connect people with remote icy places, and highlights the connections between arts, science and the environment.

In a 2017 project for public art festival Common Ground, Gabby worked with Hutt Valley school students and local scientists to create a giant collaborative artwork mapping past and future changes to the Te AwaKairangi Hutt River floodplain. Drawing Water: Low Lying uses rope to draw a 1:1 scale flood map of the area, exploring the potential impacts of water table and sea-level rise to flood-prone communities

About Gabby

Gabby completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of New South Wales. She has recently been awarded a PhD scholarship through the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge. Her area of research is the trans-disciplinary intersection of art, science and community education.

What Gabby's looking for

June 2017: “Looking for co-presenters of workshops in schools in Nelson area. Exact times and dates are flexible at this point. The workshops will entail a 10-15m illustrated presentation about your science research in relation to the Nelson [pref Sustainable Seas] area and I will then do an art presentation. This will be followed by a collaborative art activity in the classroom that will then form part of a large scale artwork/installation in Nelson in late Nov 2017. This is an opportunity to communicate directly to stakeholders and for un-siloed learning to occur. The whole workshop will be completed in 1-1.5hrs but we will need to meet prior to discuss details.”