Donna Huddleston

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Scissors, an empty but self-replicating room, a line of dancing cowgirls, a gargantuan papier-mâché shell beached on soap, a deranged actress with the bearing of a Tudor duchess – the theatrical world depicted in Donna Huddleston’s work is a tense and emotionally volatile place.

The art of Donna Huddleston (b. 1970, Belfast, Northern Ireland) draws on a range of influences that span the worlds of film, theatre, literature, design and the visual arts. 

Collapsing the boundaries between life and theatre, Huddleston’s drawings marry ritualistic narrative with an unpretentious medium. Her dramatic tableaux and cryptic pencil studies combine the austerity of technical drawing with a tonally resonant palette. Her media includes Caran d’ache colour pencil, metal-point, watercolour and graphite. The evocation of memory through texture is the formalist ambition of Huddleston’s works on paper.

Her alternately stark and theatrical compositions include objects made in various media that combine sculptural presence with functionality and set design. 

Rich with incident and gesture, Huddleston’s drawings and objects nuance sinister presence with ambiguous comedy. Scissors, an empty but self-replicating room, a line of dancing cowgirls, a gargantuan papier-mâché shell beached on soap, a deranged actress with the bearing of a Tudor duchess – the theatrical world depicted in Huddleston’s work is a tense and emotionally volatile place.

Although born in Belfast, Huddleston grew up in Australia, where she studied at the National School of Art in Sydney and later graduated with a Bachelor of Theatre Design from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts. This led to an early career in film and theatre. Her experiences in this field precipitated a preoccupation with the ephemerality of set design and performance, evident in her works’ careful staging.

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