From the Vault

I was going through some old pictures this week and came across a painting I did about 13 years ago. It’s nothing like the work I do today. Here is a little bit about it.



ABOVE: David McDonough, Spin, 2005, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

BELOW: David McDonough, Spin (detail)

In my early twenties, I rediscovered a love of art that had laid dormant for years. Like many new artists, I started with painting, and although my first efforts where admittedly bad, over time, I grew better.

The above painting is the result of many years of struggle. By no means is it a masterpiece, but for me, it was the first painting that I finished, took a look at, and said: “yes, you are onto something here.”

Spin, was one of the last paintings I made. Shortly after, I changed course, started experimenting with new materials and subject matter, and began making work closer to what I make today.

Whether it’s refining my skills, style or message, making art will always be a challenge. It’s sometimes helpful to look at past projects to gauge where you came from, where you are, and where you want to go.

The World’s Most Expensive Chop Suey

On Tuesday, Edward Hopper’s painting Chop Suey sold at auction for $91.9 million. As with most things in the art world, there’s more to the story than just money.


ABOVE: Edward Hopper, Chop Suey, 1929, oil on canvas, 32 x 38 inches

First, here is a quick timeline of the painting:

  • Edward Hopper paints Chop Suey in 1929
  • Businessman Barney Ebsworth purchases it for $180,000 in 1973
  • Ebsworth promises it to the Seattle Art Museum in 2007
  • He passes away in April, 2018
  • The painting, along with 65 other promised works, goes up for sale at Christie’s
  • Chop Suey sells for $91.9 million on November 13, 2018

To date, no one has gone on record to state why things went down the way they did. Did Ebsworth have a falling out with the museum before he died? Does his family need the money? We may never know. Sadly, the painting (and others from the collection) may now disappear into a private collection.

Anthropocene at the Art Gallery of Ontario

This past weekend, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario to check out its latest exhibition: Anthropocene. For those unfamiliar with the show, here is a quick review.


ABOVE: Edward Burtynsky, Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya 2016 (Detail), pigment inkjet print

BELOW: Edward Burtynsky, Oil Bunkering #1, Niger Delta, Nigeria, 2016 (Detail), pigment inkjet print

I’ve long been a fan of Edward Burtynsky’s photography, and the film Manufactured Landscapes is one of my favorite documentaries. For those reasons, I was super excited to check out his latest exhibition, Anthropocene at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In it, his photographs are presented alongside the work of filmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.

For those unfamiliar with Burtynsky’s work, he travels the world documenting the effects of humans on the ecosystem. His photographs are superbly done, beautiful, and sad.

For those unfamiliar with the term Anthropocene, it is defined as follows: From the Greek anthopos, meaning “human being” and kainos, meaning “new” or “recent.” It is the proposed current geological epoch, in which humans are the primary cause of permanent planetary change.

This is an often stunning, often depressing exhibition that will leave you with a lot to think about. Information is presented in a non-preachy manner, and viewers are left to draw their own conclusions. It is truly global in its scope, and contains images from both developed and developing nations.

Anthropocene may be the most important exhibition the Art Gallery of Ontario has had all year. If you put the time and effort in to see Infinity Mirrors, you should definitely come see this.

Antropocene is at the Art Gallery of Ontario until January 6, 2019.

Happy Belated…

…Halloween. In the spirit of the season, here are a few creepy shots taken from recent museum/gallery visits. It’s kind of surprising how many scary things can be found there.


ABOVE: Sculpture by Jean-Robert Drouillard as seen at Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

ABOVE: Spider as seen at the Royal Ontario Museum

ABOVE: Sculpture by Jean-Robert Drouillard as seen at Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec