Brian Donnelly is an artist who in his solvent paintings allows painstakingly rendered portraits to be corrupted by exposure to fairly common household items such as turpentine, hand sanitizer, and alcohol. The reaction on canvas is a return to base pigment, collapsing the structure of the image. ‘As the image distorts, I watch a slow dance of one form becoming another, as leaves drop from trees with the change of season. By pushing my paintings into unprotected places I allow carefully rendered figures to be exposed to chaotic elements, compromising their delicate surfaces.’ The work challenges the idea of the sacred, ignoring preservation, and accepting loss to see the value in the fragile nature of the medium, exposes a parallel to our own fragility, and asks questions about our own mortality.
All images © Brian Donnelly