Brian Donnelly Solvent Portrait Paintings

Brian Donnelly Solvent Portrait Paintings
Half Mast, oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 48″ x 48″, 2016

Artist Brian Donnelly’s solvent portrait paintings represent subjects whose faces have been distorted as a result of being exposed to turpentine, hand sanitizer, and alcohol.

Brian Donnelly Solvent Portrait Paintings

Brian Donnelly Solvent Portrait Paintings

The works, as a result of the chemical reaction, end up as portraits about what is not present (loss) as opposed to portraits about specific people that are present. Their origin was someone of an organic evolution. Rather than painting over his work with new elements, Brian began to try to remove elements and found he was effectively erasing his own work.

Maransanti
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 48″ x 48″, 2016
Solvent Portrait Paintings

Mouth For War
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 48″ x 48″, 2016
contemporary portrait paintings

Phantom Sun
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2016
solvent paintings by Brian Donnelly

‘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.’- Brian Donnelly

Blue Hour
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 12″ x 12″, 2016
brian donnelly paintings

Eclipse
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2016
brian donnelly art

Fresh Cut
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2016
painting with turpentine

Harbinger of Spring
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2016
Solvent portrait paintings by Brian Donnelly

Brian describes them as a bit Dadaist and a bit conceptual and goes on to explain to gallery owner Stephanie Chefas that “I was setting out to make paintings, damage them beyond recovery, and have their destruction/rearrangement/total absence be considered as art. It’s a little bit dadaist, and a little bit conceptual, but it’s an exciting problem for me to solve. What I’ve arrived at isn’t necessarily portraits of individuals, instead they’re portraits of loss.”

Where The Roots All Twist
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 18″ x 18″, 2016
Solvent portrait paintings by Brian Donnelly

Spring in Death Valley
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2016
unusual portraiture

Swirl and Swoon
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2016
contemporary portrait paintings

“The reaction to the chemicals on canvas is a return to base pigment, collapsing the structure of the image. 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.” –iGnant Magazine

Heavy Lies The Crown
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2015
unusual portraiture

Maelstrom
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 18″ x 18″, 2015
contemporary portraiture

Cumulonimbus
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 24″ x 24″, 2015
contemporary portrait paintings

Pineapple Express
Oil paint, turpentine and hand sanitizer on canvas, 12″ x 12″, 2015
Brian donnelly portraits

Brian started working with Stephanie Chefas in 2014 when she invited him to produce a piece for a show she was curating in San Fransisco. At present, two of his solvent paintings are appearing in ONE, her curated Anniversary Group Exhibition at her Portland Gallery, through December 9th, 2016.

brian donnelly paintings
The above painting was commissioned by Dillon Francis and is available here, on a t-shirt.

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Brian is represented by https://www.stephaniechefas.com/
all images and information courtesy of Brian Donnelly and Stephanie Chefas