OBRAS the Portuguese ‘artist in residence’, brought ROB MONAGHAN & MIRIAM SLAATS together … a productive collaboration between the multidisciplinary artists has emerged.


When you think about oil, you don’t think about art. You’ll think about energy, industrial power and movement. For decades, oil has transformed our global society and still is the main source for many forms of transportation and products. But Oil can be more. Oil can give energy in another shape. Oil can be Art.

When you define Oil is Art, things start to move. Thoughts come to mind and questions arise. How can Oil become Art, other than oil paintings? It was talented Dutch artist Miriam Slaats who discovered the beauty of oil as an art form. She captured oil in a refined shape and made unique stills of the product. In black, white and gold to start with. She named sculptures ‘BLOB; hence the sound when the oil hits the surface.


For Miriam, BLOB represents a moment. A moment that make Oil last forever. That might be a dream for many, but for Miriam Oil Forever is a given reality. Every BLOB has a unique shape taken from a frozen momentum. And just like crude oil does, BLOB gives energy. How? People are touched and fascinated by the natural shapes of each BLOB.

Oil, shaped so free and artistic engages people to connect. One of the first people to actually watch the real BLOB Art Oil Forever pieces was Rob Monaghan; a visual artist from Ireland. Being a naturalist, he always disliked oil. But then he saw a BLOB and things started to change in his mind.


“On viewing the BLOBS for the first time, I was instantly seduced by the story behind them. How the artist exhibited them and the process of how they were made. The resulting artworks produced by a recycled product and the strong aesthetic of the BLOB completely captivated me. I had an instant connection to the BLOB and a feeling of curiosity to work with them in different situations and environments. “

Rob created a series of phots and videos in deserted mine lakes in Portugal. How would you describe the feeling when you put art made from Oil in that crystal clear water?

“For me working with the BLOBS was a very organic process and one that slotted into my current art practice seamlessly. Having traveled to Estremoz Portugal to study the effects of marble mining on the landscape, I was introduced to the idea of working with the BLOBS by Miriam Slaats.


As I was filming from the perspective of the lakes in the mines I started to document the BLOBS from the viewpoint of the water. Instantly it became a work of movement. Viewing the Blobs from deep below the surface of the lake was a very moving experience. The BLOBS took on a life form of their own and I became an observer.”


“As an artist I seek these type of responses from materials and locations. Working often as I do within the natural environment it struck me that a oil product like plastic within the water had become a thing of incredible beauty to me. As a naturalist Oild and Water was a loaded subject for me personally, but one I found peace in when I considered the life cycle of the BLOB.“