Susan McDonnell Bio

The Guardians, 2015

16 x 20 inches  |  egg tempera on panel

Private Collection

Susan McDonnell received both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and her Masters of Fine Arts from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She currently teaches at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

Susan McDonnell’s paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout the United States, including Sullivan Goss in Santa Barbara, HAUS Gallery/Brewery Project, the Jose Drudis-Bada Gallery, and Random Gallery in Los Angeles; Gallery Bergelli in Larkspur, Klaudia Marr gallery in Santa Fe; and Artbanque Gallery in Minneapolis. She lives in Pasadena.

Videos

4:00  |  Narrated by Susan Bush  |  Released for THE WALLS BECAME THE WORLD ALL AROUND: New Work by Rebekah Bogard & Susan McDonnell, 208

3:27 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for Contemporary Bear Area Artists, 2018

3:01 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for Susan McDonnell: The World At Home, 2016

3:22 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for Susan McDonnell: Curiouser and Curiouser!, 2014

More Information

AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK

The allusion to Victorian botanical illustration in McDonnell's work is inescapable without being definitive. Botany was considered one of the few sciences genteel enough for Victorian ladies to pursue. It was thought to cultivate feminine virtues and to promote gender­appropriate skills like gardening and decorating. McDonnell’s own attitude towards this history seems ambiguous at best. Her paintings all seem to have an edge – both a theatricality and a reverence for oddity that don’t conform to traditional notions of gentility. She also seems to imbue the decorative quality of her work with a sense of irony or defiance. By painting the rare and the bizarre in a traditionally decorative form and style, she subtly subverts the tradition. Painting natural curiosities in an Old World medium like egg tempera suggests a certain admiration for the original form. According to the artist, she likes tempera for the way that colors weave together like the threads in a woven cloth to create a unified field. She also likes the durability of the colors and the archival nature of the medium.

In the artist's words, "My paintings are combinations of what I perceive as real and underlying unseen elements of nature. My perceptions of nature are often defined by its patterns, delicacy and astonishingly exquisite details."

 

EDUCATION

1991 MFA Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
1982 BFA Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA

EXHIBITIONS


SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018  Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2016  The World at Home, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2014  Curiouser and Curiouser!, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2007  Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2004  ON Gallery, South Pasadena, CA

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2018   Contemporary Bear Area Artists, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2017   Masterworks, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2016   You Are Here, Surrogate Gallery Projects, Pasadena, CA
2015   Mixed Nuts, Jose Drudis- Biada Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2014   Magical Realism, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2011-2018  100 Grand Show, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2011  Summer Group Show, Gallery Bergelli, Larkspur, CA
2009  Insight/Inside LA, Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2008  Contemporary Realism Invitational, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2008  Still Lifes, Objects and Other Narratives, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2005-2007  Contemporary Realism Invitational, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2007  Hausguests, HAUS Gallery/ Brewery Project, Los Angeles, CA
1996  Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, CA
1996  Secret Society of Dog Art Random Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1988-1989  Artbanque Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

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