LONDON.-Lazarides Gallery presents the first solo show by young British painter, Miranda Donovan. Donovans unique work fuses an interest in the techniques and outlook of street and urban artists with a dedication to the possibilities and practice of painting. For her Lazarides exhibition, Donovan will present over twenty paintings from five new series of works.
Donovans paintings are characterised by their sculpted surfaces built-up inlayers of cement, plaster, sand and paint. The sanded brickwork that forms the first layer on the canvas gives a grid-like structure that the artist then scrawls over with various styles of painted graffiti. Donovan is interested in the interplay of colours, and she explores different juxtapositions of shades and tones in her works, varying both the colour of the brickwork and of the graffiti. The London Street scenes such as Connaught Square (2008) present the graffiti tag in unexpected and incongruous places capturing the rebellious and anarchic spirit that lies within the many citizens disaffected by our political system.
Donovan is interested in the urban scene and the current huge urban expansion across the world. Her works raise issues about the effects of this harsh environment on communities and the increasing alienation of the individual. In the Lost World of Innocence Series, the works juxtapose news-clippings of victims of urban crime with idyllic lost world scenes taken from Seventeenth-Century Dutch paintings by artists including Ruisdael, which Donovan has appropriated then defaced. These works, such as Takeover (2007) show her interest in the importance of composition, where she has divided the canvas into real and imagined space.
Works in the Rules Series, subvert signs by altering their appearance through painting graffiti tags over them. The Isolated Series, presents smaller works, often one brick in size such as Game (2007), where Donovans brushstrokes are looser and more expressive, in a jewel-like homage to Basquiat. Other works in this series employ banknotes as part of the layered image to comment on the unreality of the capitalist system. Finally, deserted wastelands, rather than streets, form the basis of works such as Recorded(2008), from the Scrubland Series.
Donovan fits within the urban art scene in a line via Banksy to Basquiat, and brings to it a new approach based in her interest in the possibilities of the painted space and the historic works of Anthony Tapies and Jacob van Ruisdael. Donovan was born in 1979 and grew up in Holland and London. She studied art in France at the École des Beaux Arts in Aix en Provence and at the City and Guilds School of Art in London.