Cornelia O’Donovan plays with old folklore and poetry, but in a loose and dreamlike way. She draws particularly on tales native to the British Isles, and especially Celtic poetry and myth – from the tale of Prince Llewellyn’s grief at the sacrifice of his greyhound Gellert being, to the figurative ballads of Ellen O’Leary and lines from WB Yeats.
Her paintings are flat, stripped of all perspective or realism, their surfaces hazy and meandering like an old tale retold a thousand times. Roughly rendered yet delicately arranged, she creates patterned compositions reminiscent of old tapestries into which she plants naïve pre-Modern motifs.
‘Outlines of old figures, ancient heralds, esoteric herbs and familiar animals all appear like inherited objects worn smooth by the touch of innumerable hands. They retain the homespun quality of medieval rustic artworks, flowing across the canvas like a stroll through a country garden.’ James Freeman 2013
Cornelia O’Donovan trained at Royal College of Art graduating in 2006. Her work is held in private collections in the U.K. and overseas. She lives and works in London.