I Thought To Have Been Gone By Now…

Meryl Donoghue

Sept. 5th – Oct. 6th 2013



Donoghue’s breathtaking work is comprised of a collection of large-scale gyclee prints, depicting a series of strikingly lit human/animal hybrids arranged in black space. These images, born from pencil drawings, are digital creations. Transferred from page to screen, constructed from photography and then manipulated. The final images possess a sense of magical reality, underpinned by the suggestion of something more sinister and foreboding.

Her work is inspired by stories that the artist has heard and events in her life that hold sway over her. It is a portrayal of desperate circumstances with unsettling and incalculable outcomes and in part pays homage to past writers, poets and musicians whose work has fuelled her imagination and inspired invention. Donoghue’s work explores a number of themes such as loneliness, abandonment, loss and punishment.
This exhibition will comprise new digital print work made from photographic scans, installation pieces that incorporate sound, video and animatronics, as well as original drawings. It is Donoghue’s first solo show since graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2012 and so will showcase the evolution of her practice over the last few years.
I am interested in the power of strangeness. As a device I believe strangeness is as effective as horror or humour. In my work I like to explore this power, utilizing it to create surprising and unsettling pieces where boundaries blur, species merge and the dead can talk back. I like my work to be seductive yet unnerving at the same time. It is interesting to draw the viewer into a space and disarm them with the unexpected. There must always be a dark edge to the seduction. Beauty is important to me, but it is important in its relationship to the grotesque. Pure beauty is not so interesting as beauty that is infected and spoiled. There must be imperfection.
Within my practice I have no fixed media. I move from delicate pencil drawings to highly augmented photographic prints, from experiments in sound and animation to installations comprising animatronics and video. All of my work however is concerned with the abject and the liminal, the in-between and the outcasted. It pays homage to the difficult transitions of human life; the ascension from child to adolescent, from adolescent to adult and our confrontation with the body’s decline as we come to the realization that our immortality was just a dream of our childish selves. It is concerned with what I perceive as the universal fears of life: death, isolation, wasted time, wasted opportunity, and the inevitable descent into a dull, repetitious life of pre-ordained obscurity.
Narrative is important in Donoghue’s work and she draws inspiration and imagery from folklore, fairytales, mythology, religion and literature. Adoption of elements and ideas from such sources cements the foundations of her constructed reality giving it depth, a past and a sense of history. The artist invites the viewer to join her, offering them a surreal world that their imaginations may explore. A world in which the lines between the real and the fantastical are indefinite, thus forcing them to question its truth, just as myth and legend in the minds of many often transpire as history.