Stephen O'Donnell

BIOGRAPHY

Stephen O'Donnell

Born 1958
Resides in Portland, Oregon

Artist Statement:

I was always known as the “artistic child”; from earliest youth I was always drawing, making pictures. My father was in the Air Force, so we moved all the time, and in all the many schools I attended being an artist was my entire identity. When it came time to choose to go to college or not, I rebelled against that artist label and moved to San Francisco and did everything but make art; I sang semi-professionally, designed costumes for theater, taught performance workshops, etc. But eventually, after having returned home to Portland, at the advanced age of thirty-seven I began my art career: I walked into a gallery, showed the owner my work, and two months later I had my first show.

As a painter, I’m entirely self-taught; my “art education” has come from pictures in history and art books. In many fairly obvious ways, I’m not really a “modern artist”; I paint the world of old paintings. And I’m not at all an artist who paints the world around me; the goal isn't to paint a tree that looks like a tree, but one that looks like a painting of a tree.

I frequently employ the self-portrait as the basis for my work. I've always felt that, by beginning with myself as the model, I am able to avoid the biggest limitation of the portrait as a form: that it is “about” someone specific. In my paintings, because the portrait is only of the artist, the viewer, while including whatever they might perceive of the artist, still has more opportunity to find their own narrative in whatever visual scenario I might present.

A play of gender is probably the most recognizable aspect of my work; I’ve often been referred to as the “man in a dress” artist. I'm always asked why - politically or psychologically - I choose to portray myself this way. The simplest way to explain it is that is that I identify as non-binary. So, painting myself the way I do, as a man in women's clothes – I never really try to make the illusion that I'm female – is a way of expressing this important part of my identity, the closest representation of a whole self. And then, women's clothes are just a whole lot more interesting visually, and a lot more fun to paint!

Since 2006, I’ve been married to writer and graphic designer Gigi Little. We live in Portland with our dog, Nicholas.

 

 

Solo Exhibitions

 

2019       Objectified, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2018       Working Backwards, PUB Gallery of Art, Peninsula College, Port Angeles, WA

2017       Beastly, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2015       95 / 15, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2014       Told and Untold Stories, Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle, WA

2012       La Vue à travers, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

                Des jeux sérieux de beauté, Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle, WA

2009       Dix-Huit, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2005       Galerie des modes and Still, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2003       Mythos, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2002       La Lumière Cachée, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2000       New Paintings, Quartersaw Gallery, Portland, OR

1998       Joseph Chowning Gallery, San Francisco, CA

                New Paintings and Drawings, Quartersaw Gallery, Portland, OR

1997       Recent Paintings, Quartersaw Gallery, Portland, OR

1996       Quartersaw Gallery, Portland, OR

1995       New Drawings, Quartersaw Gallery, Portland, OR

               

Select Group Exhibitions

2019       Peace on Earth, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA

2018       Winter Group Exhibition, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2015       Art In True Fashion, Winston Wächter Fine Art and Abmeyer+Wood, Seattle, WA

2014       2014 Palm Springs Art Fair, (with Winston Wächter Fine Art), Palm Springs, CA

                Fire Department, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2013       Best Dressed / Undressed, Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle, WA

                Summer Group Exhibition of Work by Gallery Artists, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2012       Aqua Art Miami (with Froelick Gallery), Miami, FL

                Art Platform – Los Angeles, (with Winston Wächter Fine Art), Santa Monica, CA

                Undressing Room, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2011       Aqua Art Miami (with Froelick Gallery), Miami, FL

                Exquisite Allegory, Winston Wächter Fine Art, Seattle, WA

2010       The Science of Gender and Sex, 29th Annual Gender Studies Symposium, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR

                Referencing the Past, SAM Gallery, Seattle, WA

2009       34th Annual NW Natural Street of Dreams, Portland, OR

2007       First Exhibit, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2006       Beastiary, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2005       drawing(s) 40+ artists/200 works:  A 25th anniversary exhibition, Terry Hopkins, curator, Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, OR

                Winter Group Show, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2004       The Clown Show, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2003       Winter Group Show, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

                Reallegories / Core Sample, Belmont Factory, curator, Andrea Borsuk, Portland, OR

                Introductions, SAM Gallery, Seattle, WA

2002       32nd Willamette Valley Juried Exhibition, Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR, Juror:  Roger Hull

                Showcase 2002, Beaverton Arts Commission, Beaverton, OR, Juror:  Mark Wooley (award)

2001       East Meets West, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

                Winter Group Exhibit, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR

2000       PDXs to Quartersaw:  Celebrating Sixteen Years, Quartersaw Gallery, Portland, OR

                Open Walls, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR

1999       Oregon Biennial, Portland Art Museum, OR, Curator:  Katheryn Kanjo (catalogue)

                Pacific Rim:  Oregon, Terrain, San Francisco, CA

                Fin de Siècle,Terrain, San Francisco, CA

                Hydrangea House, Newport, RI

1998       Joseph Chowning Gallery, San Francisco

                When Voices Become Pictures:  Images from Western USA, Terrain, San Francisco, CA

                Fairies and Furies, LaLuna, Portland OR

                Basil Hallward Gallery – Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR

1997       The Boy Mechanic, Quartersaw Gallery, Portland OR, Curator:  Paul Arensmeyer

                The Garden Show, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR, Curator:  Victoria Beal

                Joseph Chowning Gallery, San Francisco, CA

                Quartersaw Gallery, Portland, OR

1996       Community Arts Foundation, Vallejo, CA

                Basil Hallward Gallery – Powell’s City of Books, Portland OR (Fall)

                Saks Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR

                Basil Hallward Gallery – Powell’s City of Books, Portland OR (May)

               

 Publications

2018       The Untold Gaze, a large-format collection of paintings paired with short fiction inspired by O’Donnell’s work.

 

 Speaking Engagements

2018       Working Backwards: finding my way as a figurative/narrative artist in the world of contemporary art, PUB Gallery of Art, Peninsula College, Port Angeles, WA

2011       The Figure in Contemporary Art Symposium, Tacoma Art Museum, 3 April, 2011

               

 Awards

2011       Grand Prize Winner – “The Power of Self” Competition, Artists Wanted, New York, NY

2002       Best of Show – Showcase 2002, Beaverton Arts Commission, Beaverton, OR, Juror:  Terri Hopkins

1997       Winning Pacific Coast Competitor – New American Paintings, Open Studios Press, Wellesley, MA, Juror:  Clare Bell, Guggenheim Museum – Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, New York, NY

               

 Collections

                Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR - two works

                Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, NY

                Portland Community College, Portable Works Collection, Portland, OR

                Rufus Wainwright, New York, NY

             

Select Periodicals and Articles

2015       “First Thursday Art Walk Preview: April 2015″, T. s. Flock, Vanguard Seattle, Seattle, WA, 2 April, 2015

2014       Featured artist and interview, Menacing Hedge, a literary journal, Fall 2014

              “Last Chances: Three Gallery Shows Worth Running To, August 2014″, T. s. Flock, Vanguard Seattle, Seattle, WA, 27 August, 2014

               “Portland painter Stephen O’Donnell tries on new drag”, Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, 27 July, 2014

2013       “Twisted takes on summer wear at Winston Wächter”, Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, Seattle, WA,

                26 July, 2013

2012       “Painter Stephen O’Donnell: in women’s dress, but not a drag”, Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, 8 June, 2012

2011       “Seven Questions” series interview, Laura Stanfill, Laura Stanfill, 22 August, 2011

                “A Q&A With the ‘Power of Self’ Prize Winner Stephen O’Donnell, the ‘Perverted Norman  Rockwell’

                of Portland”, Artinfo.com, 10 June, 2011

                “Stephen O’Donnell” (featured artist), Artisaday.com, 30 May, 2011

“In ‘Exquisite Allegory’ at Winston Wächter, every picture tells at least one story,” Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, 3 February, 2011

2008       Portrait of Portland Magazine, Portland, OR, Spring (image)

2007       Just Out, Portland, OR, 19 January, p26 (image)

2006       “Stephen O’Donnell,” Judy Campanaro, Outlands, pp 19, March 2006

2005       “A Quarter Century of Quality,” Victoria Blake, The Oregonian, 2 December, 2005, A&E

                “2 artists’ works on paper make good pairing,” Brian Libby, The Oregonian, 1 June, 2006, A&E

2004       “Pocket-size catalog captures grand ideas,”  Joseph Gallivan, Portland Tribune, Portland, OR 6 August 2004

2003       “Reallegories at Belmont Factory,” Pat Boas, Art Week, December 2003 – January 2004, Vol 34 Issue 10, Palo Alto, CA

                “Self Portrait in Red Lipstick,” The Oregonian, Portland OR, 12 December 2003, pp 26, A&E

                “Stephen O’Donnell at Froelick,” Grant Menzies, Willamette Week, Portland, OR, 11 December 2003, pp59

                “ArtsWeek’s Radar,” Rob Kelley, The Oregonian, Portland, OR 30 November 2003, pp D9, A&E

                “Show of Note,” D.K. Row, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 19 December 2003, pp 26, A&E

                “Arts Rodeo,” Portland Mercury, Portland, OR, 4 December 2003, pp 31

2002       “32nd Willamette Valley Juried Exhibition,” Hester Coucke, Artspirit, Corvallis Arts Center—Linn-Benton Arts Council, Corvallis, OR, October, p 1

2001       “World Report: Portland—Crossing Boundaries: East West Symposium in Print Art,” Hidekki Kimura, Hanga Geijutsu, Tokyo, Japan, #114, Winter, pp 132-133

“Art Saves Lives! (Sort Of): On PICA’s Visual Arts Flank,” Steffen Silvas, Willamette Week, Portland, OR, 26 December, p 26

                “The Buzz That Was: October 13,”The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 28 December, A&E, pp 6-10

“The Frame Game: “East Meets West” at Froelick Gallery,” Stan Hall, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 14 October, p F10

                “Print City: Froelick Gallery,” Bob Hicks, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, USA, 9 October, p E1

2000       “New Master,“ Oriana Green, Just Out, Portland, Oregon, 7 April, p 43

                “PICA: Open Walls,” Michaela Lowthian, Willamette Week, Portland, OR, 17 May, p 79

                “The End of Victoria’s Era,” D.K. Row, The Oregonian, Portland, 4 June, pp F1-F8

                “Decision Marks the End of an Era,” D.K. Row, The Oregonian, Portland, 15 May, pp B1-B3

1999       “A Good Look Around,” Daniel DuFord, Willamette Week, Portland, OR, 11 August, p 75

                “Fin de Siècle’ at Terrain,” Mark Van Proyen, Artweek, San Jose, CA, March, p 15

                “Art on the Edge,” Ron Cowan, Statesman Journal, Salem, OR, 1 August, pp 1D, 5D

                “Oregon Biennial Showcases New Art,” Statesman Journal, Salem, OR, 29 July

                “The Spirit of ’99,” Karen Steen & Caryn Brooks, Willamette Week, Portland, OR, 28 June, pp 41-4

                “1999 Oregon Biennial Artists Chosen,” Kate Bonansinga, Willamette Week, Portland, p 66

                “Gallery Watch,” David Bonetti, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, CA, 5 February, p C16

                “Hooray for Biennial! Let’s Change it for 2001,” Randy Gragg, The Oregonian, Portland, 8 August

                “In the Spotlight,” Randy Gragg, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 4 August

“Oregon Biennial: Two Views,” Sue Taylor & Randy Gragg, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 1 August, pp 1-4

                “Kathryn Kanjo: On Oregon Art and Collecting,” Randy Gragg, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 30 July, p 6

                “Art Old and New,” Tricia Jones, The Columbian, Vancouver, WA, 29 July, pp F14, F21

                “Another View of the New,” D.K. Row, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 30 July, p 70

              “Curator Nips Biennial List: Only 25 of 700 Artists Chosen,” Randy Gragg, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 20 June, E3

              “In Second Year, Biennial Curator Urges New Forms,” Randy Gragg, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 14 February, p F12

1998       San Francisco Monthly, San Francisco, CA, July (image)

1997       “New Adventures in Camp,” D.K. Row, Willamette Week, Portland, OR, 2 July, pp 59-60

               “Manly Endeavors,” Anne Martens, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 11 July, A&E, p 68

1996       “Form Follows Function,” Kevin Francis, Willamette Week, Portland, OR, 29 May, p 45

                “Fools for Tools,” Randy Gragg, The Oregonian, Portland, OR, 10 May,pp 17-18

             

Catalogues

2008       Cascade AIDS Project 18th Annual Benefit, Portland, OR

2004       Art on the Vine, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, OR

2003       Art on the Vine, Vintage 2003, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, OR

              Cascade AIDS Project 13th Annual Benefit, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR

2002       Art on the Vine, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, OR

1999       Oregon Biennial, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, Essay: Kathryn Kanjo, p 28

1997       New American Paintings, Publisher: Open Studios Press, Wellesley, MA, number 13, December, pp 76-77, 123, Essay: Clare Bell