Born in Warwickshire, England in 1957, Derek O'Connor moved to Adelaide in 1969, and today lives and works in Canberra.
From 1992 to 2005, Derek has held annual exhibitions at Legge Gallery, Sydney and at Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, as well as major solo shows in Melbourne such as Derek O'Connor, Karen Woodbury Gallery (2004) and Reciprocal Translocations, First Floor Gallery Melbourne (2001). Most recently his work was exhibited in Derek O'Connor: 10 Year Survey Exhibition, Canberra Museum and Gallery, Canberra (2007/08).
He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions including Derek O'Connor & Marie Haggerty, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2007); Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, New South Wales (2007); Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery (finalist) (2007); Del Kathryn Barton, Cathy Blanchflower, Derek O'Connor and Monika Tichacek, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne (2004); Scratch the Surface: Recent Portraiture, Canberra Contemporary Art Space (2003); It's a Beautiful Day: New Painting in Australia 2, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2002-03); The Redlands Westpac Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, New South Wales (2003); On the Brink: Abstraction of the 90s, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2000); Recent Acquisitions, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (1997); and the Moët & Chandon Fellowship Touring Exhibition, Australian state galleries (1993).
Over the past decade, Derek has received several grants and awards. Of particular note are the Capo Fellowship Award, Canberra (2007); Canberra Contemporary Art Space Inaugural Art Prize (2003); Individual Artist Grant, Department of Arts and Culture, Canberra (1998); and the Pat Corrigan Award for Exhibition Development (1995).
His work is held in major public galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery, as well as important private and corporate collections such as ABN AMRO, Renzo Piano Building, Sydney; Art and Australia; Artbank; RACV Art Collection; Pan Pacific Collection; and Austcorp.