Cheryl Donegan received her B.F.A. in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and an M.F.A. at Hunter College in New York. In her breakthrough videos of the 1990’s, Donegan combined time-based, gestural media of performance and video with forms such as painting, drawing, and installation. Direct, irreverent, and infused with an ironic eroticism, Donegan's works put a subversive spin on issues relating to sex, gender, art-making and art history. Using her body as metaphor in her earlier works, Donegan's performative actions before the camera often resulted in or related to process paintings and drawings. More recently, Donegan’s paintings derive abstraction from debased images of consumer objects and spaces. The roots of her performance practice can be traced to current forays in to fashion. As critic Nick Stillman writes in Art Forum: " Donegan's recent work remains acidic, but it has turned abstract." Her work has been exhibited internationally, most recently in her first career survey at Kunsthalle Zurich in summer 2017. Other venues include at the The New Museum, 1995 Whitney Biennial, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Tang Museum of Art; New York Film and Video Festival; 1993 Venice Biennale; and the Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, France in 1995.
Donegan recently exhibited new work at David Shelton Gallery, Houston and LevyDelval, Brussels. In June 2018, Donegan opens another survey of her works from 2009 to present at the Aspen Museum of Art, traveling to Contemporary Art Museum in Houston. Donegan was a faculty member in the Fine Arts Department at the School of Visual Art, New York from 1997-2013. She has been a frequent seminar leader and guest critic at Yale University, was a a faculty member at Skowhegan School of Drawing and Painting, Summer 2011 and a visiting artist/lecturer at numerous art programs in the United States. She lives in New York with her two sons and husband, writer Kenneth Goldsmith.