Patrick Donley

Patrick Donley is a longtime member of the Louisville art community who has made his reputation with his colorful, collage-based abstract paintings, compositions composed of spherical objects applied with an insistent mark-making technique. Interestingly, Donley did an artistic about-face several years ago, and surprised the art world by producing wall mounted, found-object sculptures. His most recent work, the on-going Memento Series, melds Donley’s two and three-dimensional techniques while adding narrative components to the mix. These intimate works deal with memory and intimacy. Donley says the series reflects a crossroads where his two paths meet and influence one another. A life-long habit of collecting abandoned objects, a large assortment of found older photos, and an interest in the memories that are tied to them served as the impetus for that series.

“I am essentially a mixed media artist,” he explains. “Trained as a painter, I started using collage with the paint, then shifted into three-dimensions using found materials. I now balance all three methods of working as a way to keep my artistic mind sane.”

“More recently, Donley has embarked on, ‘…a path of rediscovery,’ returning to the sphere. And if, at first glance, the paintings look similar to his early work, and most easily connote astronomical perspectives on heavenly bodies, there is indeed the same concern for relationships in space both macro and micro. But have the years of focus on 3-Dimensions informed the artist’s mark making so that we feel a greater plasticity in the modeling of form - a greater freedom now in the application of various media? Whatever we imagine, Donley finds a curious tension in the work: ‘There is something surreal happening that is at once perplexing while at the same time pleasing. I draw with a brush. I draw with graphite. I draw with charcoal. I stain, and I glaze. Collage is worked into the surface, and I draw over that. I render worlds, and I proffer particles. Accident belies intention. Color justifies the means.’ ”
—Keith Waits for Artebella

Patrick started his career as a traditional painter. He has a BA from Davidson College in painting, and an MFA from Northwestern University in painting and drawing.
A long-time member, and co-owner of the former Zephyr Gallery in Louisville, he has been making art since the early 80’s in one form or another. His work can be found in collections from the Northwest to the Southeast, including Paul Allen’s, founder of the EMP Museum, as well as at Northwestern University and Davidson College. Regionally, his paintings and sculptures are owned by numerous corporate and private collectors.

Donley was our featured artist in Juniper's Special Exhibit room for March 24, 2024. See his Baseball Flags: A World Series exhibit here and read about this fascinating project.

Also, be sure to check out Patrick's newest and AMAZNG art project Groundhog Archaeology. His curiosity and interest has created an entire historical dig and museum under his own art studio! Truly a fascinating journey!
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