Master Donnelly Can You Please keep Quiet?

The painting,”Master Donnelly Can You Please Keep Quiet?” Stems from a childhood experience when practicing singing for church with my second grade class, the nun at my school asked me, “Master Donnelly can you please keep quiet?” while the rest of the class sung. Having complied she said ” Ahhh now that’s better!” From that day on I knew for sure that I would be a painter and not a singer. -Beauty and its stereotypes, as well a sense of acceptance and rejection that one finds on the surface and in the interior, has driven my work for the past several years. Discovering that not all that surrounds me is, as it seems, intrigues me.  It is as if I’m just getting comfortable and someone pulls the chair out from underneath me and I’m left with scrapes and bruises. Remnants, a broken statue or a shattered dream helps me recall beauty longed for, unspeakable, and yet recoverable.-The skin of my paintings reveals the process by use of such material as paint, wax, and amber shellac. There is a constant search throughout the course of the painting, scraping or sanding the surfaces in the excavation. -There is an enduring immediacy to the work; an unfiltered approach that allows for subconscious marks to appear akin to a glance. Gestures. Smudges. Erasures. Sanding. Drips. The process, “unfinished” or in flux, reflects a personal, almost autobiographical, influence in the work. The abstraction is now evocative of a time, an event, a place or persons within the abstraction. Where at one time the subject matter included juxtaposed and layered and eclectic images such as Tinkerbell, the Virgin Mary, Venus of Willendorf, movie stars, Moby Dick, now the non-objective marks act as containers for paint, typecast, historical and implied messages.  The work resides in the gap between the elegance of mark making and the underlying tension and paradox concerning the intangible idea and preconceived notion of beauty.-As Picasso once stated, “To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow the coup de grace for the painter as well as for the picture.”- I aim not to finish or be satisfied but to forever uncover this beauty gone astray buried deep within my work and me.

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John J. Donnelly
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