Where contradictions canco-exist and harmony prevails.

Combining juxtapositions like man and nature, order and chaos, beauty and decay, Donovan’s low relief paintings are a space where contradictions can co-exist. They are an analogy for society where harmony prevails within the politics of division and where the melting pot of nationalities and divergent creeds thrive. They could also be seen as idealistic – especially in the context of Brexit, the legacy of Trump, the climate crisis and Britain’s handling of the European refugee crisis.

“But you’ve got to believe in the possibility of a better world, otherwise what’s the point?”

— M.D

I learnt to carry strands of differentsocieties, different cultures, within me.

Raised between London, Holland and Gozo, an island off Malta, Donovan “learnt to carry strands of different societies, different cultures, within me.” She read History of Art at the University of Bristol, followed by Fine Art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts d’Aix-en-Provence and at The City & Guilds of London Art School. She graduated in 2005 with an in-depth knowledge and appreciation for artists ranging from the Dutch landscape artists of the Golden Age to Anselm Kiefer, a deep interest in the sculptural possibilities of painting, and a lasting preoccupation with walls. “Age-old, enduring…  walls we walk blindly past every day to the ancient walls of the Lascaux Caves in France. Their layers talk of man’s history, of hopes as well as fears. Walls create havens as well as barriers, whilst their surfaces tell stories through their colours and the marks left both by man and the elements.”

As such, a wall is the genesis of every canvas, the foundation of what will become a landscape or a street scene. Donovan makes each work with materials of the building trade, first layering down a cement-like substance, mixed with polymers. Over this she applies paint, text, figures, and slogans, constantly sanding back and reapplying coatings, until the colours, marks and residual matter connects with me, and a story is told.”

“Until the colours, marks and residual matter connects with me, and a story is told.”

— M.D

Clues to the concept.

Titled – Stay In Trust, Let Life Flow – this work discusses an escape from the programming and pre-ordaining of stereotypes instilled in us from an early age, whether to conform with a particular type of masculinity, or to be a perfect beacon of domesticity. It explores the idea of man as machine with characters created from mechanical parts.

For as well as representing society as a whole, with each work Donovan provides a metaphorical brick with which we can build what we need “to overcome the unknown, time-specific contemporary challenges, and to connect with ourselves and each other to move forward together, embracing the fundamental spirituality that tethers us all within the same ecosystem.

Essentially, Donovan’s practiceis one of hope.