Motifs @ Crane Hall
Exhibition closed: June 26, 2011
InLiquid presents Motifs, work by artist Shannon Donovan in the Hall at the Crane Arts Building. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Second Thursday, May 12, 2011 from 6 to 9 pm, and an additional reception on June 9, 2011 from 6 to 9 pm.
In this exhibition, Donovan describes a motif through its common definition as a recurrent visual or
narrative theme. This exhibition provided the artist with the opportunity to reflect on motifs in her own
work and extend them in new directions. The works on display here embody four primary motifs:
Decorativeness — the use of traditional patterns and objects from the domestic lexicon is integral
to my work. In an era where visual flourishes and “prettiness” are sometimes distrusted as
superficial or unnecessary, I take “decorative” as a compliment.
Translation — crochet becomes clay, clay becomes flowers, branches become fabric. Nature is
incorporated but not replicated. Stylization is emphasized.
Cross-pollination — wallpaper patterns and fabrics reference nature; nature in turn is trimmed,
dressed, and painted, added to the patterns, and asked to behave.
Exuberance — unabashed, unironic, joyous visual expression is the essence of my visual
philosophy. There is no shame in what you love. “Tasteful” is arbitrary.
Shannon Donovan creates pseudo-domestic environments in which clay is the primary medium. These
environments ask us to think about décor as an expression of social status and taste. The artist’s
installations cross boundaries of expectation in rendering the functional decorative, and in challenging
ideas about the use and meaning of ceramics. Through transformation of mundane objects and cultural
detritus, she promotes interplay between nature and artifice, fostering a cycle of cross-pollination
between outdoors and in, and champion Flaubert’s claim that exuberance is better than taste.
The public hours for the Crane Arts Building are noon – 6 pm, Wednesday – Sunday, and until 9 pm on
the Second Thursday of each month.