Helen O’Toole was born in the west of Ireland. She attended the RTC Sligo; the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, BA with 1st class honors in Painting, 1986; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA in Painting, 1989; and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, 1989. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2016, a Contemporary Northwest Art Award in 2016, a Pollock Krasner Award in 2013, the Jack and Grace Pruzan Fellowship for 2009-2012 and 2013- 2015, as well as numerous other awards and research grants. Over the past 25 years, O'Toole's work has been included in several international exhibitions in Ireland and Singapore, including solo exhibitions at the Hamilton Gallery, Sligo, Ireland; The Linenhall Arts Centre, Co. Mayo, Ireland; The Yeats Gallery, Sligo, Ireland; Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle; Sazama Gallery, Chicago; The Cultural Center, Chicago; The Hudson D. Walker Gallery, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; and Chatam College, Pittsburgh. She has participated in numerous residencies including The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; the Bemis Foundation, Omaha; and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre Residency Programme, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland. O'Toole has been a visiting artist and given talks on her work at venues such as the Malaysian Institute of Art, Kuala Lumpur; The University of Alaska, Fairbanks; The University of Puget Sound, Tacoma; and SFMOMA Gallery, San Francisco. She lives in Seattle and is currently Professor of Art and Chair of the Painting and Drawing Program at the University of Washington. She has also taught at La Salle College of the Arts, Singapore, and The University of Washington Studio Art Program in Rome.