After residencies at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art in London in 2002 and at the Yale/Norfolk Summer School of Art in 2004, Lonegan received in 2005 her bachelor's degree in Art and Applied Physics at the Yale University, New Haven. In 2010, she graduated with a M.F.A. at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Caitlin Lonegan's paintings exhibit a specific kind of gestural abstraction that eschews the grand, one-off gestures of mid-twentieth-century abstract expressionism. In a way, there's nothing heroic about her process: each painting emerges as an accrual of marks built up slowly over time. She works on multiple canvases concurrently; some take more than a year to complete. Over these periods, the paintings migrate around her studio, from the floor to the wall and back again. Equipped with a basic arsenal of paint, linseed oil, and spirits, she relies on a heap of borrowed trickssuch as frottage, resist, or embossingto build up the surfaces. While her techniques allow for occasional chance effects, each mark is a calculated gesture, appropriated from smaller studies and then copied and refined on larger canvases. (In turn, these studies are absorbed into Lonegan's studio cycle and evolve into finished works using the same techniques.) Every one of the artist's marks has a provenance, and the canvas displays their individual intentions or behaviors in how they move in space or how they reflect or absorb light.
Lonegan's alienation from abstract expressionism is more than a generational divide. She deliberately refuses allegiance with any formal school or position, stating, “It's not interesting if you know where the artist is.” Likewise, looking at her current work, the viewer is equally ungrounded. With the dark hues and metallic sheens of her palette, her newest paintings are earthy and unfathomably deep, and yet still fracture our attention. The eye floats around her canvases as it tries to decipher each mark as the result of a stroke, flood, or spray of paint. These gestures hover, collide, and weave into and around each other, yielding a satisfying disorientation. (Jen Hutton, Cat. Made in LA 2014, UCLA Hammer Museum)
Caitlin Lonegan’s works have been shown in many group exhibitions, several of which were in California – for example, in the major survey show “Made in LA 2014” at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. In 2017 she participated in the exhibition “Abstract Painting Now! Gerhard Richter, Katharina Grosse, Sean Scully” at the Kunsthalle Krems. Her works can be found in the collection of the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Berezdivin Collection in Puerto Rico, the Sammlung Goetz in Munich, and the SoArt Sammlung in Vienna.