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Patrick McDonnell Exhibit – Comics Abstract

Patrick McDonnell has been an artist for over 40 years. Best known for MUTTS, he has always made personal and abstract paintings while drawing comics and illustrations for publication. During the turmoil and isolation of the past few years, McDonnell’s paintings have literally exploded – in volume and intensity. In this exhibition of over 50 large canvases, McDonnell juxtaposes the painterly gesture of abstract expressionism with the simple inked beauty of classic comic characters. This is the first time the public will get to see the private side of McDonnell’s art where his masterful line and expression shifts scale and intensity to surround us in an atmosphere of humor, dread and hope.


above: "A Maddening Thing" by Patrick McDonnell ©

From Joel Oliphint’s Columbus Alive review:

Jenny Robb, curator at Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, visited McDonnell at his New Jersey studio in hopes of introducing his work to viewers other than Nancy and Sluggo. McDonnell initially thought the museum might display a couple of his large-scale paintings, but Robb pitched a collaboration with OSU’s Urban Arts Space, a Downtown gallery with ample wall space for an exhibition featuring dozens of his pieces. The show was scheduled to debut last year, but COVID delayed the exhibition a year — a postponement for which McDonnell is now grateful.

“When I first talked to Jenny Robb about doing the show, most of my paintings were just Nancy and Sluggo. The idea for the whole show was going to be that you would go to the museum and visit with Nancy and Sluggo.”

Now, Nancy and Sluggo are joined by other classic comics characters: Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy, Jack Kirby’s Captain America and the mustachioed protagonist from Milt Gross’ Nize Baby strips.

Side Effects: Paintings by Patrick McDonnell 2016-2021– Urban Arts Space page.


Image: © Patrick McDonnell, "Happy Hooligan (Descending A Staircase)"

Community Comments

#1 Ignatz
August/18/2021
@ 5:54 am

If this was in New York, I would absolutely go see it.

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