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After moving to the Burren in Co. Clare, Tom Molloy became interested in the collection, classification and registration of the natural world carried out by botanists in the area. In ‘Oak’ Molloy chooses to draw, rather than paint, to minimize the effects of colour, brushstroke and other formal considerations associated with expression. In this work the artist focuses on individual leaves from one particular oak tree to query how we arrive at the general idea of a species. In all Molloy drew 96 leaves, 32 of which are in the IMMA Collection. Each drawing is governed by the same rules of production, the uniqueness of each leaf coming to the forefront. The intense repeated labour of drawing and redrawing an object recurs in Molloy’s practice. It is not just categorization which engages his enquiry, but reproduction. He is concerned with mechanical representation, trompe l’oeil, and questions relating to the very nature of visual representation itself. Molloy was born in Waterford in 1964 and graduated with an MA in Fine Art, Painting from NCAD, Dublin in 1992.

MediumPencil on paper
Dimensions Unframed
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 1999
Item NumberIMMA.854
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Tom Molloy, Oak, 1998, Pencil on paper, Unframed, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 1999

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Tom Molloy b.1964

Irish conceptual artist Tom Molloy studied at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. His practice combines the exploration of different media with a strong sense of social commitment. Concerned with themes of classification and reproduction, and the concept of the individual within a collective group, he works in series’ that emphasise the repeated labour of drawing and redrawing. Molloy has exhibited extensively since 1990.

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We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.