Pam McDonnell was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1969 and has resided in Memphis, Tennessee since receiving her BFA from the University of Memphis in 2005. She combines her expressive graphite drawings with thinly layered oil glazes to create work that speaks the language of spirit and connection. McDonnell has been exhibiting her work in the Memphis area since 2014 and has pieces in the public collections of West Cancer Center, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Church Health Center and Iberia Bank. Additionally, she has volunteered her time to serve on the board of ArtsMemphis and has also served in various capacities on committees within the community to support and further the arts in Memphis.
“Olly Olly Oxen Free” is the title used to represent Pam’s collaboration work with fellow Memphis artist, Stephanie King.
Olly Olly Oxen Free is a phrase used in children’s games to indicate that players who are hiding (in a game of hide and seek, for example) can safely come out into the open.
The playful paintings created by the collaborative team of Stephanie King and Pam McDonnell started in 2017 when McDonnellgave King a two-year-old drawing to complete (Phase I). The resulting piece birthed the idea of an over/under game where clever prey outsmart the hunter. Both artists felt compelled to pursue the subject further with more paintings.
Their second collaboration took place in 2018 at L Ross Gallery in Memphis, TN. This showpresented eight large scale paintings worked out and over by the pair together and separately over a period of five months. The first-round series of paintings delight the imagination with magical creatures such as shady rabbits, leaping frogs and flying fish.
The duo now moves into the third phase of Olly Olly Oxen Free by continuing to develop their own styles within as well as outside of their collaborative work. In their 2019 show at Anne Neilson Fine Art in Charlotte, NC, King and McDonnell will each present 7 individual, non-collaborative pieces directly influenced by the work they have done together. The duo feels this forward/backward creative process embraces the act of working together to create singular pieces of art.