The first solo show for any young artist must be a nerve-wracking and exhilarating experience, even more so when at one of London's most cutting-edge galleries. But young British artist Miranda Donovan, who finds herself in this very position, is taking it all in her stride. Her exhibition The Lost World of Innocence opened at the Lazarides Gallery in Soho last week to great acclaim. A sure sign of Donovan's very bright future in the art world is the fact that every piece in the exhibition sold before the opening night. We've mentioned Donovan's work before in connection to the Saatchi Gallery Showdown, now that's she progressed from online to in-gallery we decided to find out what's going on behind her landscape scenes.
Congratulations on the success of your first solo show. The exhibition sold out before the opening night, how does that feel?
When told the news I felt overwhelmed and definitely a little weak at the knees! To know that the work I have spent months/years producing has found new homes is an incredibly rewarding feeling.
What does the show's title "Lost World of Innocence" mean to you?
For me Lost World of Innocence refers to aspects of life in contemporary society: the ever increasing expansion of cities across the countryside, the ever present gang/knife culture in our cities today, the "Tesco" capitalist takeover, the "big brother" camera that has become such an intrusive—yet integral—part of our life, the media which infiltrates all layers of society and successfully enforces huge pressure on people to perform and succeed at a young age.
Can you tell us about the concepts behind the different series of paintings in this show?
There are five series of paintings in the show. The Lost World of Innocence Series is where I have painted bucolic Ruisdael landscapes juxtaposed against news clippings of lives tragically and violently lost to knives and guns. My intention was to evoke a feeling of nostalgia, a lost ideal in the viewer whilst also heightening awareness of a serious problem in our cities. In other works e.g. "Too Many," my intention was to be more personal by introducing the viewer, with stark frankness, to the faces of victims lost to violence on our streets.
The pieces in London Streets in most cases are intended to be more humorous, whether it be word play on Al Fayed's shop of "HORRORS," placing graffiti in incongruous places, or telling those at BANK to chill out!
In Scrublands lives are lost, the big brother camera follows us—even here we're asked does capitalism bring happiness? Rules aims to evoke a sense of anarchy by painting/spraying graffiti on rules signs. And lastly, the Isolated series is freer in style, works draw upon emotions of anxiety, loss, isolation and fear.
How did you get interested in graffiti and what's the significance of taking it off the street and into the gallery?