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.
Narrative is important in Donoghue’s work, drawing inspiration and imagery from folklore, fairytales, mythology, religion and literature. Adopting ideas from such sources cements the foundations of her constructed reality, giving it depth and a sense of history. The artist invites the viewer to join her, offering them a surreal world for their imaginations to 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.
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.
“I am interested in the concept of cruel fate and the idea of the tragic heroine, much like Thomas Hardy’s Tess from Tess of the d’Urbervilles, whose unrelenting kindness and pure intentions are mercilessly rewarded with misery and injustice to the point of tragedy. My work is an expression of my own personal fears and grievances. It is a testament to the dread I feel in anticipation of adverse yet inevitable events and my lamentation at past sorrows. My pieces often exist as metaphors for punishment; punishment for hidden feelings and secret deeds.”