Mary McDonnell’s artworks explore the qualities of pattern, line and colour in tandem with storytelling to evoke a deep sense of relation to place and it’s history. Shifting fluidly between textile, paint and mixed media works, she continues to draw inspiration from the local history, mythology and flora of her native Boyne Valley, and from the everyday happenings of family life.
Family genealogy provides provides a key focal point for exploring relation to past and to place in an ongoing experimentation with ways of using family related archives. A tactile engagement with different kinds of materials (photographs, maps, letters, newspapers) creates its own space of reflection and memory.
Exhibition of these works using archive materials then extends this recalling of memory to invite the outside in, prompting others to share their stories and reminiscences, adding new layers and dimensions that feed back into and reshape the archive.
Subject matter arises from immediate aspects of everyday life, descriptive qualities often emerging from a spontaneous encounter with the accidental in a hands-on experimentation with materials.
The work reflects nuances of different moments in aesthetic engagement, ranging from whimsical to poignant. This playfulness is the basis for a circular reflexive practice between various aesthetic, from personal and commissioned work to local exhibitions alongside art classes and workshops, all embedded in the specifics of place.