A new exhibition of paintings by Patrick O'Donnell
private view: Wednesday 4th February 2015
Through his focus on light, colour and abstract forms, Patrick O’Donnell’s combines oil paintings and ink works that explore notions of transition, ideas of perception and our place in the cosmos.
The current / ongoing body of work entitled the Origins series displays O'Donnell's interest in space and cosmic imagery. O’Donnell responds to the images beamed down from the Hubble Telescope with its spectrum of colours, gestures and marks from the myriad densities of dust and gas. Referencing Daniel Altschuler’s statement, ‘Look at your hand. It is made of atoms. These atoms did not always exist; they were produced inside stars’, his paintings explore cosmic atoms as building blocks for our very existence through the medium of oils.
With a nod to post-war Abstract Expressionism and its European counterpart Tachisme, the paintings begin life on the floor with loose applications of thinned medium applied with plant sprayers and new celestial images reveal themselves in the painting process.
Running parallel to the Origins series, the Reconstruction series adopts the traditional painting technique of grisaille (tonal under painting). This series explores how light indicates human presence. Based on stills taken from various crime- related television programmes and, in particular, transitional shots between pivotal scenes the titles play with the idea of reconstructed moments. Dark bands at the top and bottom frame the action like a wide screen TV. They deal with reconstructed light, created and operated by the human hand. The term Bokeh has been defined as ‘the way the camera lens renders out of focus light’. Anything that isn’t in the depth of field loses clarity and becomes blurred.
These paintings bring forward those out of focus parts to take centre stage, as it is these transient moments that allow the imagination to complete the scene. The human presence is suggested but in what form we do not know. Also on display will be a series of paintings entitled Hybrids that combine the two painting approaches adopted in the Origins and Reconstruction paintings that offer an otherworldliness resting somewhere between the familiar and unfamiliar.
In addition, there are works on paper that explore transitional tonal colour ranges. These reference the colour gradation work of Paul Klee and Joseph Albers and reflect O'Donnell's recently developed use of ink as one of his preferred mediums.