Red Birds (1990)
The collâge aims to annexe something of the decorative and imagistic richness of Indian and Islamic design, in a context of previous abstraction stripped down to phenomenological 'basics'. Jo Donegan's inks on different qualities of paper are used to conjure different suggestions of materials from cloth to parchment, and expand from single motifs with the addition of border panels.
In the USA, a group of 'Decoration/Patterning' painters (Davis, Kushner, MacConnell, Zakanitsch) emerged in the late 1970's in association with the Holly Solomon Gallery. Certain artists in this country registered similar concerns; for example, Adrian Berg's park paintings took on the appearance of hanging carpets. Design seemed to offer a hedonistic release from the austerity of 1970's avant-garde culture (and from a climate of recession), while raising issues about cultural status of work. Perhaps in the American case, the quotation of other cultures had more to do with consumer exoticism of taste. 'Decorative painting' certainly involved some 'return of the repressed', visual plenitude and indulgence in pattern and dream.