O’Dea has had numerous exhibitions and has participated in a wide range of artists residencies in Ireland, the USA and Europe.
The recipient of many awards, his most recent include The Ireland US Council / Irish Arts Review Portraiture Award in Dublin and The Royal Ulster Academy Portrait Prize in Belfast.
O’ Dea was elected ARHA in 1993, RHA in 1996 and PRHA in 2014. He was elected to Aosdána in 1996 and elected as a Fellow of the Anatomical Society in 2015 for his contribution to reviving Anatomy as a subject for artists at the newly established RHA School where he was appointed School Principal in 2006.
O’ Dea has served as a member of The Board of Governors of the National Gallery of Ireland, acting as chairperson of the Acquisitions and Exhibition Committee from 2014 to 2018.
He is chairperson of the Stamp Design advisory committee and a member of the Philatelic Advisory Committee of An Post.
O’ Dea continues his practice as a full time artist since 1999 in Dublin, Mayo and wherever else his work may take him.