FEATURED ARTIST: Roanne O’Donnell
From the land of lochs and legends, we are pleased to introduce you to the award-winning Scottish painter and Artcast’s newest Featured Artist, Roanne O’Donnell. Characterized by a slight touch of minimalism, O’Donnell’s unique, signature style is a result of defining the subject of her artwork as ‘the process of making it, inextricably linked to the concepts and actions of limitation, restriction and repetition.’ Her ongoing series, SURFACE WORK, which she began in 2017 while in Spain, is a collection of beautifully unorthodox paintings and frottage which you can now explore on Artcast.
Born in St. Andrew’s, Scotland, Roanne O’Donnell studied drawing and painting at the Edinburgh College of Art before moving abroad to Spain and then back to Winchester, U.K. where she obtained an M.A. in Contemporary European Fine Art. This was followed by 18 years of professional practice in Harstad, Norway, though she eventually made her way back down south and established her own studios in both Scotland (where she is currently working) and the Sierra de Libar area of Spain.
As a self-described ‘process painter’, O’Donnell limits her use of materials to an ivory black pigment, graphite, and charcoal while utilizing cold wax and oil as binders on paper. In discussing this raw method of art and inspiration behind her series SURFACE WORK, she shares this story:
As a painter working within minimalist principles, and with no reference other than the process of making work and the resulting surface, I have no place for personal influence, but after so many years of investigation I decided to acknowledge the origin of my absorption; awe for the coal miners in my family working underground. Therefore, a series of paintings and frottage, ‘Surface Work’, which I began in 2017 and first installed in a derelict building yard in Montejaque, Spain, is a homage to the manual labour of these men, who repeated their laborious, monotonous, restricted movements digging in the confined space and darkness of the deepest coal mine in Scotland, The Glencraig Colliery, at 610 metres below ground.
You can watch a video of Roanne O’Donnell’s fascinating process of creating a piece for SURFACE WORK at her studio in Scotland below.
According to O’Donnell, the frottage technique she employs is a direct reference to a particular tradition the miners in the Fife region of Scotland had after they returned home after a hard day of working underground:
After each shift, the men were pulled out of the “pit” covered in coal dust. When they got home, their wives or children washed them in a tin bath, but didn’t wash their spine. Instead, they used their hands to buff and polish the carbon powder into their skin. Eventually it became permanent. They believed that this strengthened their backs. White Shirts, Black Jackets, Roman Catholic Sunday Best Clothes covering black paintings.
In line with this ritual from the past, SURFACE WORK is an homage to them; her technique and the series’ subject matter relying solely on its creation process of a similar rhythm: ‘repetitive action of markmaking, bending over paper, laid flat, and moving my paint mixtures to create a line, over and over, again and again.’ The concept of SURFACE WORK is ‘a question of gemination,’ she says, and goes on to share the famous quote from Heraclitus of Ephesus:
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
O’Donnell professionally curates artwork in addition to creating her own having maintained the role of Director for the Gallery of Northern Norway for over five years where she has shown work by the likes of Sir Paul McCarthy, Norway 10 Designers, and other established international and emerging artists. Her own work has been exhibited and awarded across Europe and can also be found in the collections of the Scottish Office and the North Norwegian Museum of Art, in the hands of private collectors, and now digitally via Artcast.
We are thrilled to share with you the new Roanne O’Donnell gallery our curators have put together which is comprised of details from the pieces found in SURFACE WORK. Below is a small preview of this incredible new addition to our library which can now be found in the Contemporary Art category on Artcast.
Enjoy Roanne O’Donnell’s artwork now on Artcast via Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google/Android, or Samsung. You can also follow her @roanneodonnellartist on Instagram and Facebook for updates about her work and visit her website to learn more about the fascinating series ‘SURFACE WORK.’