Catherine O’Donnell’s drawings depict houses or more accurately they depict the notion of home itself. Her drawings portray the architecture of a form that is so close to her, fibro houses, both the façade and the interior. Her drawings examine these specific urban dwellings as a site of complexity, it is an exploration of the architecture, social history, the everyday and the notion of home.
She ties identity, history and culture to these façades, they are ubiquitous, they are unique and they are personal all at the same time. Through her drawings she analyses the way that vernacular architecture and general street scapes of places we regularly inhabit become recessed into our minds like wallpaper – they are at once visible and invisible.
The absence of people in her drawings encourages viewers to consider the architecture from their own perspective, their own experiences, igniting their memories of similar dwellings. O’Donnell’s drawings, whilst uninhabited, still capture traces of human intervention with narrative elements embedded in the commonplace structures: an open window; a door ajar. These subtle elements allow the viewer to enter the architectural structure, it allows for an exchange of memories, of stories and of our own narratives to take place. She draws what is close to her, but also what is close to each one of us – a home.
O’Donnell has held solo exhibitions at; Carriageworks, Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Grafton Regional Gallery, Blacktown Art Centre, Murray Art Museum Albury, Penrith Regional Gallery, and Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, and the National Art School. She also held a solo exhibition at the Pataka Museum in New Zealand as a part of the NZ International Arts Festival (2010). O’Donnell has been awarded the Gosford Art Prize (2020), Waverley Art Prize (2020), Terrence and Lynette Fern Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Fellowship (2017), Hazelhurst Art on Paper (2015), City of Hobart Art Prize (2011), and the Albury Art Prize (2009) where she was awarded First Prize International Art Residency.
O’Donnell’s works are acquired by notable collections around Australia and New Zealand; including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Parliament House Art Collection, Artbank, Penrith Regional Gallery, Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award Collection, Grafton Regional Gallery, Murray Art Museum Albury, Kedumba Collection of Contemporary Drawings, Pataka Museum in Porirua in New Zealand, Blacktown City Council, Mosman Art Gallery, Museum of Brisbane, and numerous private collections.
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