In Conversation with Meryl Donoghue: ‘Motifs’

In Conversation with Meryl Donoghue: ‘Motifs’

Today we’ve asked Meryl to tell us a bit about the recurring images in her work.  She is an artist who’s work has many layers, and every detail is significant.  We were curious to know why certain forms are repeated and how these figures inform a thematic reading of her new body of work…Check out the conversation below:

StolenSpace: Deer and Octopi seem to be your animals of choice when creating hybrid creatures.   Do these particular animals hold specific significance for you, if so, what do they represent?

Meryl Donoghue:  In reading this question I am reminded of the totem animals often employed by female surrealists such as Leonora Carrington, an artist who strongly identified with animals and used them constantly in her work. Perhaps I extend this tradition though I believe my use is not for my ability to identify with these creatures but due to a fascination with a thing which I have never had any real access to, having grown up in a town with no significant pets to speak of or exposure to animals in any real way.

I have always been particularly drawn to these two animals. Deer are wild animals; beautiful, elegant, mysterious and once glimpsed are quickly gone. They are ancient, and indigenous to our woodland and the European continent and so have a long standing in stories and legends of our culture passed down through the centuries. I remember going to a very special museum in Paris some years ago called the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature) and being struck at the time by the significance of the deer in many of the fables and myths that I first heard there. The octopus is another creature that frequents ancient myth and legend. To myself and probably to many, the octopus is quite alien and our lack of familiarity with it means its nature is unpredictable and thus unnerving. With Its many arms it is chaotic: an overwhelming force poised to grab and engulf.

‘I thought to have been gone by now…’ opens 5th September at StolenSpace Gallery.