Brian Donnelly Unveils 'Nothing Lasts Forever' @ Stephanie Chefas Projects
Distinction is the true indicator of the best artists and there is no mistaking Brian Donnelly's work. The way he paints hair alone is absolutely singular and striking, though his main draw is the us of chemicals to colorfully de-face otherwise pristine portraits of nameless characters. The Toronto-based artist's approach is among other things a deconstructive study on the inevitability of time, and therefore it's only proper his first US solo exhibit at Portland's Stephanie Chefas Projects bore the fitting name NOTHING LASTS FOREVER.
Donnelly did not arrive at his style overnight and now that he has found his voice he's taking small steps forward. His new pieces were not drastic departures from the widely acclaimed works that have been gracing magazines and websites for the past two years. However, the small details added up to impressive advancements. Instead of the common stark white backgrounds, Donnelly added light blue cloudy skies as backdrops. His impeccable hairdos included bright colors and other variations this time around. It's hard to grasp how well Donnelly paints hair until you're standing in front of the work, noting every loose follicle and trying to figure out how he absolutely captured a certain shine or color.
Stealing the show was "Half-Mast", a jaw-dropping 48 x 48 inch canvas of a mohawk-sporting male in a state of accelerated, brilliant decay. The profundity of Donnelly's aesthetic on this monolithic scale must be seen to be believed, or at the very least fully appreciated. The piece is nothing short of a masterpiece in detail and scope and it makes us wish he worked at this scale more often.
Guests poured in and spoke with Donnelly about his work while munching on Sizzle Pie pizza and drinking gin cocktails. The artist was more than happy to go into his process and elucidate on the thought that went into each work. Overall the show was a resounding success and we'll wait with baited breath for the next time he brings a solo exhibit stateside.
Brian Donnelly NOTHING LASTS FOREVER is on view through June 4th at Stephanie Chefas Projects, 305 SE 3rd Ave #202, Portland, OR 97214, www.stephaniechefas.com