Have you met…T.j.Donovan?

Website screen shot.

Website screen shot.

An introduction can be a wonderful thing. You can meet interesting people, and make new friends. You can be introduced to your new favorite foods, books, music, or artist.

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I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite artists. Some of whom I’ve been familiar with for years, and others I’ve only recently been introduced to.

The person I’d like to introduce is the artist T.j.Donovan.

Untitled, oil paint & rubber foam on board, 8.5 x 10.75", 2012

T.j. Donovan, Untitled, oil paint & rubber foam on board,
8.5 x 10.75″, 2012

T.j. Donovan was born and lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


2013 – The School of the Art Institute of Chicago – MFA painting/drawing candidate

2006 – University of South Dakota – BFA painting

Untitled, oil paint & rubber foam on board, 8.5 x 10.75", 2012

T.j. Donovan, Untitled, oil paint & rubber foam on board,
8.5 x 10.75″, 2012

“I make many types of things: paintings, drawings, photographs, collages, sculptures, videos, etc. and many other things in between. In the tradition that every medium possesses its own ever-changing economy relative to its space and time, and ultimately to its goals, my practice explores the space between the freedom of abstract making and direct humanistic (and thus socially coded) engagement with the world via an exploration of the freedoms and limitations presented by these media-whether mixed or used independently-when put to the task of this exploration.

I navigate the spectrum between abstract making and direct address by means of contextualization. In this sense, my practice consists of different size levels based on which media are able to contextualize other media. One particular example: a painting is contextualized by a video and then that video is contextualized by a webpage that is specifically constructed for that video. By contextualizing painting within video, I am able to bring both literal movement and sound to what is otherwise devoid of these elements, thus creating new gestures within painting, making manifest latent virtuosity in the paintings, assigning new meaning to common tropes and giving the work new direct connections to the greater world. Then, by contextualizing that video within the internet, I am able to further contextualize both the video and the painting via appropriated internet imagery. After the video, I continue to develop the painting; the painting moves on to stand on its own.

I believe that abstract making is an essential delusion in that not only is its freedom unachievable elsewhere, but also because it entails a freedom born of a more open signification to which other freedoms can be compared and thus enriched by. I believe that abstract making is in and of itself a radical act in that by doing so one emigrates from a relatively oppressive world into a world in which very few of the same rules apply. A key element of the form of my practice is the preservation of a space for abstract making, where only the most general of preconceived notions pertaining to what the work will be when I stop are present in the beginning. However, in the face of all that we experience in our lives, so many things ought be addressed. We as citizens must communicate on a practical level in order to address these things together. From the most irrefutably beautiful of occurrences to the most sickening of atrocities and everything in between, my practice preserves a space for practical address by following the associative qualities of abstract making into works that seek to more directly address our greater lives.” T.j.D

Website screenshot.

Website screenshot.

Oil paint and rubber foam on board 10.5"x8.5" 2012

T.j. Donovan, Oil paint and rubber foam on board

Other material relating to T.j. Donovan.

Artist Website: T.j. Donovan.

ahtcast: T.j. Donovan.

Studio Critical: T.j. Donovan.

Vimeo: T.j. Donovan.

MoMa P.S.1. Studio Visit: T.j. Donovan.

If you liked this introduction please check out the Previous and Next.

2 thoughts on “Have you met…T.j.Donovan?

  1. Pingback: Have you met…Joanne Greenbaum? | Painter's Progress

  2. Pingback: Have you met…Vincent Como? | Painter's Progress

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