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
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.
‘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
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.”
“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
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.
The above painting was commissioned by Dillon Francis and is available here, on a t-shirt.
Brian on Instagram
Brian on Facebook
Brian on Twitter
Brian is represented by https://www.stephaniechefas.com/
all images and information courtesy of Brian Donnelly and Stephanie Chefas