Artist of the Month
Photo Credit: Manel Ortega
1. How long have you been at the Phoenix?
About 10 years. I was waiting to get in for about 8 years before it across the road in York place studios.
2. What images keep you company in your studio space?
Joseph Albers Homage to the Square , Richard Diebenkorn, Jean Baptist Simeon Chardin, Bridget Riley, Titian, Bacon Velazquez, Dora Maurer, John Carter,
3. Your works are quite formalist. Is it the formal elements of creating that you find most engaging?
My work has leaned more towards formalism of the last few years. I have found it liberating to reduce my practice down to exploring the possibilities of a limited range of formal elements - colour, tone, shape texture etc
4. Memory, and the emotional impact of architecture seems to be an interest of yours. When did you begin to explore these topics?
A trip to the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Libeskind Building , Holocaust Tower in particular was a huge influence on my practice. I felt I was trapped in a sublime charcoal tower with a slither of light at the top symbolising an unattainable freedom, terrifying yet beautifully calming at the same time. This prompted a year or working in charcoals, exploring the notion of creating clean geometric compositions in a traditionally dirty/gestural medium. This experience resonated with a lot of time I spent in bland hospital rooms with both parents, asking myself what would I do if in their position, trapped in these confined spaces. I started to develop compositions out of corners in these rooms, exploring the notion, of boundaries, angular planes meeting. Extending this idea, the paintings in the last H_A_R_D_P_A_I_N_T_I_N_G show were explorations of memories associated with the domestic setting and the idea of The poetics of space (Gaston Bachelard), developed from how all the different carpets met on the landing in my parent’s house. Each bedroom had a different carpet to the landing, all different colours and textures demarcating individual territories, all these boundaries meeting in one relatively small space. My practice has continued this exploration of shapes meeting , boundaries, margins since.
5. You work in a variety of mediums, including charcoal, paint, ink and graphite, and you are also exhibiting prints in our Printmakers Tabletop Fair. How does print compare to other forms of making?
I love the process of screen printing. There is a certain amount of prep time but I find it more immediate and satisfying compared to other printing techniques such as etching. I like how you become a bit of a robot once the screen is set up and inks mixed. You only have a limited time to print before the ink starts drying on the screen. It’s a very active process, a proper intense workout. I love the serendipity of the process when you start experimenting with the transparency and distribution of ink on the screen to generate unexpected yet pleasing results. I like this as another strand of image making and I think it sits well with my other paintings / drawings. You can generate a lot in a shorter time.
6. You are both co-curating, and exhibiting in an upcoming exhibition at Phoenix Art Space called H_A_R_D_P_A_I_N_T_I_N_G_x2. Could you tell us a little bit about what you have planned?
In terms of the HPx2 exhibition we are all really excited with the lineup and super excited to be showing alongside three Royal Academicians. We are currently working on the catalogue and liaising with various partners re the related activities and workshops etc. We are also about to unveil another crowdfunding campaign to secure the final bit of income to make sure we can run all the planned activities. All 5 curators will be donating work to this campaign so watch this space as you’ll be able to purchase some fab stuff at reduced prices and support us in staging the show. All supporters will be credited in the exhibition.
Patrick O'Donnell is exhibiting in our Printmakers Tabletop Fair on Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 November.
He is also co-curating our H_A_R_D_P_A_I_N_T_I_N_G_x2 exhibition in January 2020.
Visit Patrick's website.
See the full Artist of the Month archive here and check back next month to see who's featured!