San Francisco-based Trisha Donnelly’s enigmatic drawings, photographs, videos, sound works, and performative demonstrations resist normative perceptions of the world. Often perplexing, the works reflect an ethereal outlook in which sound and visual expression are not confined to disparate realms but join forces to affect experience.
The potency of Donnelly’s projects comes from this oscillation. Whether sketching the aural sensation of a beating drum, suggesting that human hand signals can create rain miles away, or asking an audience to close their eyes and listen to “the sound that stops time,” the pieces drift in and out of grasp. Riding alongside the quotidian, they make visible currents that often go unnoticed.
Like the poetry of John Ashbery that she admires, the artist’s works intoxicate by pivoting between exquisite representations of the everyday and complex inscriptions of other dimensions. The projects confidently resist questioning—drawings simply do extend through walls and musical notes have corporeal presence.
Donnelly’s artworks heighten awareness of the immaterial and articulate the wonder of what is. Instead of engaging in a dialogue about belief, her poetic projects dip into romanticism and test assumptions to expose myths about existence and the power and possibilities of art.