Axisweb, the online contemporary art resource, selects the North’s promising new artists
Manchester-based artist Samantha Donnelly makes vibrant, sculptural installations and delicate pencil drawings which appeal to both our haptic and visual senses. A few years back, she made small-scale objects designed to sit high on shelves, out of reach yet crying out to be handled. Now, her more recent drawings and installations are concerned mainly with the body and how it is mediated, edited and performed for us and by us, yet tactility and the viewer’s compulsion to touch remains.
Donnelly references key moments in Western art history, such as assemblage, constructivism and 1950s and 1960s minimalism, as well as popular culture, specifically photography, TV, film and advertising. Feminism and how we view femininity hovers at the edges.
She makes vibrant sculptural installations that appeal to both sight and touch
Donnelly uses collage and assemblage techniques where she cuts, slices and edits from a plethora of material sources such as magazines, resin, fabric, glass, pink fluorescent strip lights, nail polish, pencil, found objects and even spray tan. Mirrors are used to suggest a shift in perspective and place the viewer’s reflection within the sculpture. Having studied photography, Donnelly obsessively documents her own process, from the gathering of raw materials to studio assemblage and construction, critically reflecting on the ‘final edit’ and what it is like, as a gallery goer, to look at her work.
Donnelly has exhibited widely – she had a major exhibition at Cornerhouse in 2011 – and you can next see her work in the group show, Jesmonite on Paper at the artist-led Malgras|Naudet gallery in January. Or look at her work now on Axisweb. Samantha Donnelly is represented by Ceri Hand.