Karen Donnellan, Cosmic Wetness


RHA Corner Gallery
24 Aug, 2023 - 1 Oct, 2023

Revealing the subtle power of glass, light and touch, the RHA is delighted to present Karen Donnellan's exhibition 'Cosmic Wetness' in its Corner Gallery this autumn.

Cosmic Wetness features a new body of work incorporating the visual languages of glass and mixed media. Donnellan uses a wide variety of materials; contrasting what can be referred to as high value materials, like blown glass with a dog toy from Lidl.

Audre Lorde’s essay “Uses of The Erotic; The Erotic as as Power” and “Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good” by adrienne maree brown have been long standing  influences on Donnellan’s practice. As such, the work is queer, feminist (intersectional), playful, sex-positive, tongue-in-cheek and pro-radical craft.

Donnellan believes that much of the research and practices that are dismissed as “pseudo-science” are deeply connected to ancient and indigenous knowledge. Their work embraces healing technologies, free energy and accessible resources that cannot be patented. Universal geometry and mineral specimens, for example, are used as a way to embed subtle energy in the work and connect us to a theology of everything.

The work functions as a response to the kyriarchal attempt to separate bodies from spirit, sexuality from divinity, and distort sacred Truths.

In feminist theory, kyriarchy is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission

Artist biog

Karen Donnellan (she/they) is a visual and sound artist, and energy worker. She received a Bachelor of Design (Hons) in Glass from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland and a Master of Fine Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, US.

Donnellan’s solo exhibitions have included ‘Essentia’ at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY; ‘Arc’ at Kitchen Table Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; ‘Cercle’ at the National Craft Gallery, Ireland; ‘Musica Universalis’ at Williams Gallery, IN; and ‘O’ at Gallery Kunstler, Rochester, NY. She has participated in residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France; Women’s Studio Workshop, NY; Creative Glass Center of America, NJ; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; and the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland among others. Her work is held in public and private collections; including the Corning Museum of Glass, NY, Glasmuseet, Denmark; Museum of American Glass, NJ; and the Murano Museum of Glass, Italy.

From 2014, they served as a Professor of Glass and Director of the National Casting Center Glass Studios at Alfred University, NY. After receiving promotion and tenure in 2020, they became Division Head of Sculpture / Dimensional Studies and resigned in 2022. They are now thriving in Dublin at the Dean Art Studios.

Karen’s influences include Hilma af Klint, Yoko Ono, Sinéad O’Connor, Nikola Tesla (their birthday twin), adrienne maree brown, Masaru Emoto, Hildegard, Wilhelm Reich, Sappho, Constance Demby, and Enya.

Read review HERE: Published in Glass, The Urban Glass Quarterly. No. 173, Winter 2023 – 24 by Aoife Banks


  • Kiera O’Toole, St. Agatha or Disco Tits
  • Kiera O’Toole, The Expanding Universe or Cosmic Flaccids
  • Kiera O’Toole, The world would be a better place if we all ate more pussy
    • Date:

      24 Aug, 2023 - 1 Oct, 2023
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