Lucy O’Doherty’s quirky, immediately identifiable aesthetic is the result of experimentations with colour, technique, light and shade. Using a retro colour palette and undefined brush strokes, she presents an idiosyncratic imitation of suburbia inspired by Depression Era architecture, motel postcards, and 1950s-60s Australian beach culture. Exploiting our sense of nostalgia, O’Doherty evokes unsettling feelings of déjà vu in the viewer – creating worlds that are simultaneously real and surreal, familiar and unknown. Picture perfect at first glance, deeper inspection reveals something a little bit ‘off’ – like childhood memories of long ago places. Was it as idyllic as it seemed, or is childish naivety toying with our recollections? Are we safe here, or is this dreamlike domesticity about to morph into something altogether more sinister?
O’Doherty’s choice of materials aids the surreal sense of mystery that defines her work as the oil sinks into the stretched linen, creating soft lines that hum with an indefinable edge. Her domestic spaces take on a still-life quality as she treats shadows with a solidity that dissects the compositions into an investigation of shapes.
Winner of the prestigious Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship (2016), O’Doherty completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School, Sydney, in 2011. Highly commended in the Pro Hart Outback Prize in 2016, she has been a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize in 2015, the Brunswick St Gallery Small Works Prize in 2013 and 2012, and the Lethbridge 10000 Small-Scale Art Award in 2012. Her work is held in the Artbank Collection, Imago Mundi Bennetton Collection and in private collections in Australia.