A few years back, a friend of mine printed out one of Emily Eveleth’s beautiful oil paintings of a jelly donut and had it hanging by her desk. That was the first time I saw any of Eveleth’s paintings. She has been painting jelly donuts for two decades and the results, I think, are quite spectacular.
In an interview in the Boston Globe by Sebastian Smee, Eveleth responds to the question: “Why donuts?”
“What I immediately found compelling . . . was the appeal of the irony in presenting, in a seriously and formally painted manner and on a monumental scale, an object that was at once so ubiquitous, so ordinary, so everyday. The object of my paintings, is not necessarily the subject. But I do like that it keeps coming back to the object. I’m not trying to negate that.’’
Clearly, the donuts are left open to interpretation: some may see just donuts; others landscapes with boulders; and still others, erotic close-ups of bodily orifices. Regardless, Eveleth’s technique and mastery of oil painting, as well as the luminescence she creates, are there no matter how the viewer interprets them. I imagine that if John Singer Sargent had painted donuts, they might have looked a lot like these.
You can see more of Emily Eveleth’s painting and drawings at her website.