Carolyn O'Neill is an an intuitive abstract painter who creates bold expressive paintings.
Bendigo born, now Port Pirie based artist Carolyn O’Neill predominantly paints in oils in an abstract expressionist style. Inspired by a local mural she decided to pursue art classes and went on to pursue formal art studies and currently works in her home studio. O’Neill’s work is intuitive; painting her internal dialogue while seeking to push boundaries and create something raw and fresh. Her paintings frequently explore deeper emotional and spiritual themes and the inspiration of music. Each work is much like a stepping stone to next as they are all interconnected. Her most current work draws inspiration from the Mid North Flinders Ranges region. It is not the literal landscape that she seeks to convey, but it's very essence. Experimentation is at the very core of her creative process.
Each piece is compiled of many layers which are much like constructions. They are then dismantled and re built until all of the elements are unified as one painting. The paint it scraped, scratched, dripped. The surface is not precious. The process is messy, but works to serve the end result.
O’Neill’s work has been short listed for several high profile South Australian art prizes.
- Being the first abstract painter to selected as cover artist for Bespoke magazine, which is unfortunately now out of circulation
- 2019 finalist Kennedy Prize
- 2019 and 2023 finalist Tatiara art prize
What medium do you work with, and why have you chosen them?
I work with oils, largely dues to the encouragement of my art tutor at TAFE. It is a medium that I have grown to embrace for it's rich pigments and buttery texture and versatility, especially when mixed with mediums.
How does your artwork get from initial concept to exhibition stage?
I tend to work on several pieces at a time, this brings consistency to my work and allows for drying time in between layers As an intuitive painter there generally is no plan. I usually have the colour palette in mind and it depends if I am working to a theme. Each mark is a response to the previous mark. As the layers build up, some areas remain as visual history whilst others or veiled by transparent or opaque layers of paint. This process is a back and forth one. Once the composition feels harmonious and balanced in my eyes I put my brushes down.
Can you tell us a little more about your creative working environment/studio?
I work from my home studio which is the garage attached to my home. It is both an inspiring and messy space. Old floor mats are strategically placed to collect the drips and splashes of paint.