Menu
The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Colorful and Liquescent New Paintings by Brian Donnelly

For Toronto based artist Brian Donnelly, featured here, painting is a risky business. At first beautifully rendered in oil, he then sprays his subjects with turpentine and hand sanitizer until their faces are distorted beyond recognition, to a more limited expression. Donnelly's work is all about embracing limitations: "I ask a lot of questions about art and how we define it," he says. "How far away from the original state can we go before we stop calling something art? In the process, I end up drawing a parallel between the fragile nature of artwork and the human condition."

For Toronto based artist Brian Donnelly, featured here, painting is a risky business. At first beautifully rendered in oil, he then sprays his subjects with turpentine and hand sanitizer until their faces are distorted beyond recognition, to a more limited expression. Donnelly’s work is all about embracing limitations: “I ask a lot of questions about art and how we define it,” he says. “How far away from the original state can we go before we stop calling something art? In the process, I end up drawing a parallel between the fragile nature of artwork and the human condition.”

In deteriorating his work, Donelly contemplates what it means to have something taken away, and yet still be emotional and provocative. His latest series, “Nothing Lasts Forever”, debuting at Stephanie Chefas Projects in Portland on May 6th, explores this meaning of “loss”. His new paintings feature unrecognizable faces, where the medium drips off of the canvas like rainbow-colored waterfalls, making the subjects appear almost tearful or mournful as they experience the loss of their identities.

“I approach portraiture as a mark of our decidedly ephemeral nature as living beings,” Donelly says. “In the tradition of portraiture the sitter makes contact with the eternal, their likeness carried across generations. My portraits contradict that tradition. Like memories, these paintings are unreliable: portraits of their own loss rather than permanent effigies. I think of this work less as portraiture, and more as a paradoxical document of absence in which lasting forever is defined by being reduced to nothing.”

Meta
Share
Facebook
Reddit
Pinterest
Email
Related Articles
For the majority of his illustration career, Canadian artist Randy Ortiz (first covered here) has drawn images in a graphic style with a surrealistic quality. His love for screen printing and movie posters is apparent in his limited, yet colorful palette, and portrayal of creatures who seem to transform with their surroundings. Among his latest inspirations are artists James Jean or Joao Ruas, who also merge surreal forms of nature with reality in their art. Recently, Ortiz's personal work has leaned in this more emotive direction.
Beijing based artist DU Kun incorporates his passion for rock music into his new oil painting series titled "Revels of the Rock Gods". His works, which just debuted at Mizuma Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, are monumental portraits of rock musicians that appear carved out of mountains, cliffs, oceans, stones, trees and waterfalls. His first profession while he was in art school was as a rock musician himself, and has since frequently demonstrated his musical prowess. The artist began working on his "Gods of Rock Festival" series in 2014, creating the works out of his own experience with rock music.
Czech artist Jan Uldrych questions reality in his fleshy and atmospheric paintings. Though the artist hesitates to provide any specific meaning for his work, we can find some clues in his titles; paintings like "Anatomy of memories" and "Mild decomposition landscapes" point to Uldrych's interests in the visceral and anatomical, which he abstracts into Rorschach test-like images.
Casey Weldon’s paintings have always combined beauty with a dark sense of humor to convey a distorted version of reality. Featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 32 and on our blog over the years, the Seattle based artist's palette has gradually developed a neon-colored luminosity, where his subjects appear to be glowing and bio-luminescent. Moments of darkness and reflecting colors of electric lights are used to convey emotion and spark intrigue in the viewer.

Subscribe to the Hi-Fructose Mailing List