Kington based artist Shannon Donovan has had work selected for inclusion in a prestigious ceramics exhibition in Portland, Oregon, USA. The exhibition, titled ‘The Evocative Garden’, is being held as part of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) annual conference. Portland identifies as ‘The City of Roses’, and ‘The Evocative Garden’ will showcase work that visually defines a garden allusion.
For ‘The Evocative Garden’, a total of 372 prospective applicants sent images of 900 artworks — from which the exhibition curator selected only 31 for inclusion. Shannon’s ‘Summer Rose’ (see feature Photo) is one of those 31 pieces. NCECA is a dynamic organization that fosters global education and appreciation for the ceramic arts. Its annual conferences bring together the best worldwide artists and educators in the field of ceramics.
Shannon says, ‘I am delighted and truly honoured that my work will appear as part of an NCECA exhibition. The quality of both the conference and the exhibitions associated with it is always extraordinary. This is an unparalleled opportunity to share my work with a new audience.’
Shannon took her first ceramics class in Philadelphia in the late 1990s, as an amateur adult learner, and never looked back. Her passion for clay led her to leave a career in publishing and to pursue a degree in ceramics at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland in 2003. Since receiving a BA(Hons) Design in 2006, she has had three solo exhibitions and her work has been selected for more than 30 juried exhibitions. In 2010, Shannon was invited to create a temporary site-specific installation for Philadelphia International Airport, and most recently, her work has been included in exhibitions at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the Royal Scottish Academy.
Shannon first trained in art history, and this background strongly influences her work. She delights in incorporating overlooked features of the environment and references to found objects into her artwork. For example, Shannon takes plaster casts from utility covers in the pavements, discarded hubcaps, and bones and skulls found on country walks, then reworks these objects in clay and brings out their decorative potential (as seen in the works below). She enjoys blurring the boundaries between outdoors and indoors, the refined and the vernacular, the industrial and the homemade, and craft and art.
Since moving to Herefordshire in 2012, Shannon has co-organised group exhibitions showcasing the region’s visual artists. Along with her husband Andrew Eastwood (also a ceramic artist), Shannon runs Leg of Mutton, a seasonal pop-up art gallery in Kington. Shannon and Andrew started Leg of Mutton in 2015 to showcase their own work and also promote a selection of the region’s vibrant, talented artists. Warm and inviting, Leg of Mutton is no white cube; it doubles as a dining room, even during exhibitions. Its name is a cheeky nod to the now-defunct London gallery Haunch of Venison, and it reflects the space’s former life as a butcher’s shop.
Shannon posts updates about her work, exhibitions and studio progress on her website and her blog. ‘The Evocative Garden’ will be on view at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center from 4 March till 1 April 2017, and the NCECA conference takes place from 22-25 March 2017.