the abject and the liminal

Artist Meryl Donoghue

Using strangeness as a potent spice in her art, Meryl Donoghue wants her work to be seductive and unnerving at the same time. The artist succeeds indeed. At a loss for better words, her works are great conversation pieces. There is an inherent beauty and profundity about juxtaposing the humour and horrors of life, and that balancing act appears to be second nature to the artist. It is something she has in common with the ancient Greeks who were apt at exploring duality.

Donoghue tackles the perennial existential issues, such as, teenagers realising that adult life is more complex than first envisaged. Mortality is another great one, where all of a sudden we accept that we can influence when we die, but not decide exactly when or how. A third is fear of living a life in relative obscurity, until we acknowledge it is a blessing in its own right.

The blurred line between the intention of the artist and what meaning we project into it

It is all very much in the artist’s head. But seen from the outside, it is somewhat like the point of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In the film, Peter Sellers act out different roles just as Donoghue explores different lines of enquiry in different media.

There is this level of disarming surprise for all its darkness. For instance, you find merging species that may make you think Hieronimus Bosch for a second — except Donoghue’s work is bang up to date, and created in a very different context.

Beauty is important to me, but it is important in its relationship to the grotesque. Pure beauty is not so interesting as beauty that is infected and spoiled. There must be imperfection

And Donoghue continues:
“Within my practice I have no fixed media. I move from delicate pencil drawings to highly augmented photographic prints, from experiments in sound and animation to installations comprising animatronics and video. All of my work however is concerned with the abject and the liminal, the in-between and the outcasted”.

More about Donoghue

Meryl Donoghue was born in 1984 in Reading, England. She graduated from Bath Spa University in 2007 with a first-class honours degree in Fine Art and was awarded the University Prize for her final show. Since then she has completed a Masters degree in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art.

She has already exhibited in the UK and internationally, and is preparing for a solo exhibition in London this autumn.

You can find more about the artist on her official website

Image credits
All images by courtesy of the artist © Meryl Donoghue, all rights reserved

Top: (cropped) Guilt is a terrible ghost
Top right: The Wards in Jandyce
Middle right: The Mercenary
Bottom right: Till Death Us Do Part