Joseph McDonnell started out as a figurative sculptor, but his major works vary from stark geometric forms to others more loosely connected. They range in size from small to monumental and include mobiles, wand, more recently, an exquisite series McDonnell calls "Ice Cubes." He has a flawless sense of mass and space that produces an inner logic in the forms he creates.
"Most of my sculptures have overtones of ancient civilizations. There is a strong nostalgia for the past with evocations of forgotten kingdoms and glories. There is also a sense of destruction with the torn, pitmarked surfaces, the seemingly missing entablature, the deep indentations and channels caused as if by some forceful projectiles. My symbolism deals with the primordial objects of life: the sun, the column, the arch, created from the oldest sculpture materials, bronze and granite. They are personal statements of my faith in man's profound determination to survive."
Joseph McDonnell received his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Notre Dame. He was assistant to the renowned sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. He also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, and the Harvard School of Design. Major recent commissions include those for Jon and Mary Shirley (retired president of Microsoft), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IBM, General Electric, and the University of Washington. He has collaborated for many years with leading architects such as SOM and HOK, Hugh Stubbins, Caesar Pelli, Venturi and Brown, Fox and Fowle, and Hardy, Pfeister, and Holtzman. Major developers include the Trammel Crow Co., Jacobs Visconsi Jacobs, and the Durst Organization. He has been commissioned to design awards given to honorees of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Westchester Open Golf Classic, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.