Catherine O’Donnell’s ‘Cité Spinoza’ drawings explore the remarkable architecture of social housing in Ivry-sur-Seine, designed by Renée Gailhoustet. This series extends Catherine’s sustained focus on the beauty of commonly overlooked buildings and was drawn during her residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
O’Donnell’s drawings depict the suburbs as full of connection and disconnection, sameness and difference; examining urban living as a site of complexity. It is an exploration of the architecture, culture and history in the uncelebrated ‘everyday’. She is particularly interested in 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 view-point, perhaps igniting their own memories of suburban living. 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.
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.