Susan McDonnell received both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and her Masters of Fine Arts from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She currently teaches at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles.
Susan McDonnell’s paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout the United States, including Sullivan Goss in Santa Barbara, HAUS Gallery/Brewery Project, the Jose Drudis-Bada Gallery, and Random Gallery in Los Angeles; Gallery Bergelli in Larkspur, Klaudia Marr gallery in Santa Fe; and Artbanque Gallery in Minneapolis. She lives in Pasadena.
AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK
The allusion to Victorian botanical illustration in McDonnell's work is inescapable without being definitive. Botany was considered one of the few sciences genteel enough for Victorian ladies to pursue. It was thought to cultivate feminine virtues and to promote genderappropriate skills like gardening and decorating. McDonnell’s own attitude towards this history seems ambiguous at best. Her paintings all seem to have an edge – both a theatricality and a reverence for oddity that don’t conform to traditional notions of gentility. She also seems to imbue the decorative quality of her work with a sense of irony or defiance. By painting the rare and the bizarre in a traditionally decorative form and style, she subtly subverts the tradition. Painting natural curiosities in an Old World medium like egg tempera suggests a certain admiration for the original form. According to the artist, she likes tempera for the way that colors weave together like the threads in a woven cloth to create a unified field. She also likes the durability of the colors and the archival nature of the medium.
In the artist's words, "My paintings are combinations of what I perceive as real and underlying unseen elements of nature. My perceptions of nature are often defined by its patterns, delicacy and astonishingly exquisite details."
1991 MFA Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
1982 BFA Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
2018 Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2016 The World at Home, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2014 Curiouser and Curiouser!, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2007 Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2004 ON Gallery, South Pasadena, CA
2018 Contemporary Bear Area Artists, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2017 Masterworks, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2016 You Are Here, Surrogate Gallery Projects, Pasadena, CA
2015 Mixed Nuts, Jose Drudis- Biada Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2014 Magical Realism, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2011-2018 100 Grand Show, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2011 Summer Group Show, Gallery Bergelli, Larkspur, CA
2009 Insight/Inside LA, Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2008 Contemporary Realism Invitational, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2008 Still Lifes, Objects and Other Narratives, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2005-2007 Contemporary Realism Invitational, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2007 Hausguests, HAUS Gallery/ Brewery Project, Los Angeles, CA
1996 Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, CA
1996 Secret Society of Dog Art Random Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1988-1989 Artbanque Gallery, Minneapolis, MN