Self-taught artist Stephen O’Donnell’s “Working Backwards” solo exhibition will be on display in the PUB Gallery of Art at Peninsula College April 10 through May 10. O’Donnell will also host a Studium Generale lecture in the Little Theater beginning at 12:30 pm on May 10, with a reception following at 1:30 pm in the Gallery.
“A play of gender is the most recognizable aspect of my work; I’m often referred to as the ‘man in a dress’ artist,” O’Donnell said. “I'm always asked why - politically or psychologically - I choose to portray myself this way. The simplest way to explain it is that the feminine is a large part of my gender identity. And then, women's clothes are just a whole lot more interesting visually, and a lot more fun to paint.”
O’Donnell describes himself as artistic child who was always drawing and making pictures. With a father in the Air Force, his family moved frequently and being an artist became his identity. When it came time to choose to go to college or not, he rebelled against the artist label and moved to San Francisco and did everything but make art; singing semi-professionally, designing costumes for theater, and teaching performance workshops.
“But eventually, after having returned home to Portland, at the advanced age of 37 I began my art career,” he said. “I walked into a gallery, showed the owner my work, and two months later I had my first show.”
O’Donnell has shown professionally since 1995 and has work in the permanent collections of the Portland Art Museum, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Portland Community College, Portable Works Collection, and many notable private collections. A large format art book, a collection of his paintings along with writings inspired by his work, will appear in 2018 under the title “The Untold Gaze.”
For more information contact Michael Paul Miller at email@example.com.