Emma O’Rourke (b. 1987) is an Irish artist based in London. Her practice focuses on drawing and painting, delicately assembling often indistinguishable forms – multiple unraveled conversations – an insight into her own history intertwined with moments from popular culture. O’Rourke’s work is inspired by the history of Irish migration to London, the mental health challenges faced, and the traditions and values passed down without explanation. She speaks of a sense of displacement – not British but without an Irish accent – identifying with the Irish diaspora.
Her work is fuelled by stories, both autobiographical and anecdotal, moments and memories without physical shape – acknowledging the limitations of language. Her practice turned a pivotal point after the birth of her son in 2018 fuelling a sense of urgency and newfound relevance. Her drawings and paintings express a yearning to make sense of the past through our messy day-to-day existence.