MEDLEY: Dan O'Donnell

Wed 02 - Sat 26 Nov 2011

O’Donnell’s works over the past few years involve the concept of the “forever moving edge”. In a thematic representation of this idea, in several works he explores a vision of what life would be like if humans and human consumption had a strong contention with another species, such as birds, over living space. The works refer to the effects the “moving edge” has had on the nature that originally occupied the space, the traits of people who now occupy it, and the place it will eventually become. O’Donnell chose birds as a contending species, as they are symbolic of both nature and lack of restrictions, or freedom.

His current imagery relates back to De Chirico’s vast and silent open spaces, and his images are often similarly devoid of life, with the exception of the odd human figure. There is an underlying mood of violence in much of O’Donnell’s work. The type of violence that is so slow moving it is barely distinguishable and easily misinterpreted as being peaceful. Where most acts of violence that hit the front page of the paper happen in an instant, these are representative of violence that is so gradual it often escapes the psyche.

Image: Dan O'Donnell, Race, (detail) 2006, acrylic, collage and shellac on table top. 120cm diameter