Patrick O’Donnell is an artist and curator based in Brighton since gaining BA Hons in Fine Art Painting at Southampton Institute in 1997. His work has become increasingly non-figurative throughout his career with a continued investigation into the perception of shape, form, and space.
“I work in series using straight and/or torn edges of tape to construct compositions. I started experimenting with the tension between torn and clean lines in charcoal works in 2016. A key work from this period was Seven Sisters, seven essentially abstract shapes that echo rather than depict the iconic Sussex Coast landscape, exhibited in the 2017 Sussex Open at Towner Gallery Eastbourne.
Working this way offers the freedom to explore a variety of ideas through simple formal elements. In recent years, the tondo format, with its neutrally-balanced compositional arena and multiple orientation options has allowed me to focus on relationships of colour, line, and edge and the distribution of shapes in space, without the weight of any physical corners dictating portrait or landscape formats. The Pentimenti paintings are extensions of the Toe The Line series – initially prompted by observations of boundaries and territories within domestic settings, to then later include ideas filtered from Tim Marshall’s book Prisoners of Geography of natural / geographical vs political borders, imposed and accepted (or not). With these and other series, I have been exploring the painted edge of the picture support, the pulsating edges of the painting flush against the wall becoming of increasing importance, exploring the idea of painting as holy contemplative object, a nod to Kazimir Malevich and his iconic Black Square.