From the Vault

In addition to bios and statements, an artist should write a brief explanation for every piece. That said, here are some artworks from my portfolio – with a short description for each.


David McDonough, The Likeness of an Artist as Seen Through a Mirror, mixed media, 17 x 21 x 2.5 inches (with detail)

When looking at the works of the masters, I am particularly interested in their self-portraits. This piece was created using mirror paint (my favorite of all materials) and serves as a self-portrait for all who view it.

David McDonough, Darkness, mixed media, 21 x 39 x 2 inches

As an artist, I am fascinated with the sky and it figures prominently in many of my pieces. Darkness is based upon a Lord Byron poem – of the same name – that tells the apocalyptic story of the last man on earth.

David McDonough, Look, mixed media, 18.5 x 22.5 x 2 inches

Whether it be light vs. shadow, or positive vs. negative, I am fascinated by duality. In keeping with that fascination, Look pits the loose chaotic lines of American Abstract Expressionism against the strong graphical stylings of Pop Art.

Art Quotes: Part 2

Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing. When that happens, I hit the internet in search of quotes. I love quotes. Here are some of my favorites.


“Art is the only serious thing in the world and the artist is the only person who is never serious.” Orson Wells

“I paint flowers so they will not die.” Frida Kahlo

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Leonardo da Vinci

“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.” Ernst Fischer

“Art is the proper task of life.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.” Pablo Picasso

“I feel there is something unexplored about a woman that only a woman can explore.” Georgia O’Keeffe

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head; almost nothing.” Marc Chagall

“Art is meant to disturb.” Georges Braque

“An artist can show things that other people are terrified of expressing.” Louise Bourgeois

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” Henry Moore

“I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo Buonarroti

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali

“Don’t be an art critic, but paint. There lies salvation.” Paul Cezanne

Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes

Alex Colville isn’t the only star in town. The Art Gallery of Ontario’s other show, ‘Before and After the Horizon’ is a must visit too.



ABOVE: Star Wallowing Bull, Ojibwe Service, 2008, color pencil on paper, 22.5 x 30 inches, Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis

Last week, I wrote about Alex Colville. This week, I’m going to write about another great AGO show, Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes.

First, a little background info: Comprised of seven tribal nations, the Anishinaabe peoples all speak a closely related language, and have traditionally lived in the Great Lakes region (on both sides of the Canada/US border). Culturally, they’ve been producing art and artifacts for more than 12,000 years.

Before and After the Horizon doesn’t cover it all – 12,000 years is a very long time – but what it does cover is impressive. For such a small exhibition, it packs a big punch.

There are too many great pieces to list here, but two of my favorites are: Christi Belcourt’s The Wisdom of the Universe & Wally Dion’s Thunderbird. They alone, are worth a visit.

If you’re heading to the AGO for Colville, you should head on over to this show too.

Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes is at the AGO until November 25, 2014.

Alex Colville at the Art Gallery of Ontario

And the award for the AGO’s most depressing show goes to…surprisingly…Alex Colville. Francis Bacon and Henry Moore, eat your hearts out.


ABOVE: Alex Colville, Pacific, 1967, acrylic polymer emulsion on hardboard, 21 × 21 inches, private collection, Canada © A.C. Fine Art Inc.

BELOW: Alex Colville, Horse and Train, 1954, glazed oil on hardboard, 16 × 21 inches, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, gift of Dominion Foundries and Steel Limited (Dofasco), 1957 © A.C. Fine Art Inc.

This past weekend, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see the new Alex Colville exhibition. Being relatively unfamiliar with his work, I naively expected an airy, summer-like show. Boy, was I wrong. This guy is intense.

Let me be clear: Alex Colville is a brilliant artist. On the surface, his paintings are beautiful and his technique, flawless. Beneath the surface, he’s about as deep as you can get.

Several heavy themes are addressed, among them: love and loss, suicide, and the atrocities of war – almost every piece on display comes with a strong sense of foreboding.

With works taken from a wide variety of sources – both public and private – this is a very extensive exhibition; some might say, too expansive. Either way, bring comfortable shoes; you’re gonna need them.

All said and done, I loved this show. If you’re into intelligent, meticulously made artworks, you will too.

Alex Colville is at the AGO until January 4, 2015.