Organization in madness
GFU featured artist creates structured patterns in seemingly random pieces
Its hard for people to describe Alison ODonoghues art.
Although she often calls it contemporary folk art, she said shes still unsure what the best way to describe it is.
Its hard to describe your own (work), she said, but it kind of fits.
ODonoghue specializes in patterns. Her pieces typically involve many characters or things, all interconnected and filling the canvas.
Sometimes people ask why I dont leave that part blank, she said. I just cant.
Its some-thing she said she has worked consciously to achieve.
I already had an affinity for (patterns), thats why I was interested in it, she said. It took lots of practice. It really informed the design of my work.
She said her method provides the characters in her pieces a place to play.
I really want (my pieces) to be balanced and composed in a certain way, she said. I feel at home in that structure.
ODonoghue is the featured artist at the George Fox University Minthorne Gallery. And gallery director Tim Timmerman said the students love it.
The day after the show students said, I love her, oh my gosh I just love her, Timmerman said.
He said its a combination of her work, which he described as a lot of fun, and ODonoghue herself.
I saw something Ive never seen before. A group of students started following her around as she described each piece to them. They just loved it, Timmerman said. Students loved how genuine and accessible she was. She really wanted to engage with students.
ODonoghue said she enjoyed visiting with the GFU students, as well as their enthusiasm.
I think having an opening there was better than a gallery as far as enthusiasm, she said. They are young and want to hear (about art). Just that curiosity, I really loved it.
She added that shes excited to pick up her art at the end of the show because its a second opportunity to visit with the students and talk with them about her craft.
Timmerman said he suspected students would appreciate her work, but how he came upon her pieces is a unique story.
She actually bought a piece of my work, he said. She bought the first piece of my show (last year). It was a goofy piece I thought no one would buy. She saw it and said, I love this. This is one of my children.
After they got to talking about art, ODonoghue invited Timmerman to visit one of her shows.
I saw her show and I can see why she liked my work, he said. I saw her work and thought, Oh my gosh, students would love her work. I cant say Ive every gotten art for the gallery that way.
ODonoghues show, Riding Into Tomorrow, runs until Dec. 5 at the Minthorne Gallery. For more information about ODonoghue and her work, visit www.aliorange.com.