Brian Donnelly 'Nothing Lasts Forever' @ Stephanie Chefas Projects
Brian Donnelly is well known for his aggressive approach to portraiture that involves defacing meticulously executed figures through the use of turpentine, hand sanitizer, and other materials. The resulting work is a study in deterioration, fortified by the philosophy that to take away from something can be just as provocative as to add to it.
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER opening May 6th at Stephanie Chefas Projects continues upon Donnelly's exploration of loss. Each portrait is a language of paradox with conflicting elements working against each other as a means of exploring both the immutable and the fleeting. The reduction of facial structure to abstract striae of color creates a heightened sense of ambiguity, figures who are vaguely familiar as if by way of a dream. Cloud formations placed in the backgrounds reference the portraits many of us have taken for school picture day and play upon transitory themes even further due to their constant shift in form.
'I approach portraiture as a mark of our decidedly ephemeral nature as living beings', states Donnelly. 'In the tradition of portraiture the sitter makes contact with the eternal, their likeness carried across generations. My portraits contradict that tradition. Like memories, these paintings are unreliable: portraits of their own loss rather than permanent effigies. I think of this work less as portraiture, and more as a paradoxical document of absence in which lasting forever is defined by being reduced to nothing.'
Brian Donnelly NOTHING LASTS FOREVER opens May 6th at Stephanie Chefas Projects, 305 SE 3rd Ave #202, Portland, OR 97214, www.stephaniechefas.com