Siobhan O’Donoghue’s Magic World

By Margaret Failoni

Not since the great Joseph Cornell has an artist created such magic as the recent creations—magic boxes—by San Miguel artist Siobhan O’Donoghue. Don’t let the name fool you: in spite of the name and her “Goldilocks” appearance, O’Donoghue is as Mexican as the corn tortilla and culls from her nation’s fascination with the light boxes so popular in the Mexican Arte Popular. When I first met the artist a good 20 years ago, she was designing miniature toys of Mexican arts and crafts movements, which she then very successfully sold to the New York F.A.O Schwartz toy store.

She has a fervid artistic imagination and the manual dexterity to go with it, allowing her to create fascinating art objects, from toys to art light boxes, three dimensional paper sculptures, to one-of-a-kind objects for home or office. Several San Miguel luxury hotels are adorned and accessorized with her work. Her latest work in “usable art” is a three-piece lamp which appears to be three interlaced giant matches; beautifully executed for a Mexico City commission.

O’Donoghue has shown in several group shows in San Miguel with great success, but her innumerable activities keep her busy moving between Mexico City and San Miguel, making it difficult to pin her down for an exhibition. After successfully showing in the Santiago Corral Gallery in Valle de Bravo this past summer and after continuously being asked for a San Miguel show, the artist has created a group of magnificent boxes for the Saturday, November 1, exhibition in the Santiago Corral Gallery located in the Aurora Design Center in San Miguel de Allende. Each piece is a magnificent world unto itself. These boxes are mixed media creations of wood, paper, glass, photographs, mirrors, ribbons, with original new and antique objects trouvé, creating visions of romance and memory. One particular work stays in my memory: “El amante de la abuela,” a beautifully created romantic metaphoric game of mirrors.

This exhibition will remain open to the public through the first week of January.


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