Darnell O’Banner


A Darnell O’Banner (b. 1961) piece begins with a layer of triangular pastel shapes that are scattered over the surface in vibrant repeated color then outlined with black. Sometimes the piece stops there, a beautiful geometric abstraction, but usually there is more to be done. The pastel is fixed and then a thin layer of acrylic or ink is washed over the entire surface, most often black, but white or a thistle purple have been used as well. This coat is allowed to dry. O’Banner then uses a sharp metal implement and scratches away at the thin wash of color to reveal parts of the original pastel composition beneath. The scratching can follow the contours of the triangles or be a wild improvisation of movement and action. The over-coat is not always entirely scratched away and O’Banner will let large vigorous shapes remain. In some pieces a third layer of wandering pastel lines is added over the scratches, which reinforce the structure of the initial drawing. Similar to her inquisitive and caring nature, her work is archeological in its unearthing of the hidden treasures that lie beneath the surface.

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