Side Effects: Paintings by Patrick McDonnell 2016-2021

Opening Soon at Urban Arts Space in Columbus, Ohio


Patrick McDonnell’s large-scale paintings will be shown publicly for the first time, at Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus, Ohio. These pieces explore his love of abstract expressionism paired with his love of classic comic strips. The idea for this exhibit was hatched by Jenny Robb, curator and professor at The Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Library and Museum, in 2019, after she visited Patrick’s studio and saw his canvases. A year later, COVID struck and delayed the opening, but it gave Patrick more time to explore new paintings and instill a stronger vision for the exhibit. Patrick has chosen more than 50 paintings for the exhibition, all created since 2016.  

“During the turmoil and isolation of the past few years, McDonnell’s paintings have literally exploded — in volume and intensity. In this exhibition of over 50 large canvases, McDonnell juxtaposes the painterly gesture of abstract expressionism with the simple inked beauty of classic comic characters. This is the first time the public will get to see the private side of McDonnell’s art, where his masterful line and expression shifts scale and intensity to surround us in an atmosphere of humor, dread, and hope.”  — Urban Arts Space website

“These paintings are about coping and persevering, how everything is connected, and how art (and humor) heals.”  — Patrick McDonnell

This exhibition will open on August 10 and run through October 3, 2021.  Admission is free, but at this time you must pre-register. The full catalog for the show will be available at the gallery and on The exhibition is co-produced by The Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in collaboration with Urban Arts Space which receives partial funding for its programming from the Ohio Arts Council.  

Patrick has created an Instagram account for these non-MUTTS paintings, many of which will be part of the exhibition. He will be adding to it as the exhibit approaches and plans to keep it updated regularly. You can follow him @_PatrickMcDonnell.

While in Columbus, be sure to also take some time to visit the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum’s new exhibition, The Dog Show: Two Centuries of Canine Cartoons, which features original comic art spanning from the 19th Century to present day, including a few MUTTS strips!    

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