Devann Donovan Gardner

Devann Donovan Gardner, Party Favors, Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 30″

About the Artist

Devann Donovan is originally from Murrells Inlet, SC and is currently pursuing her studies to receive her Master of Fine Arts from Winthrop University. She studied at Coastal Carolina University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts with a focus in painting and a minor in Art History in 2018. Donovan interned at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum prior to accepting a position as Children’s Art Educator and being a private art tutor. During this time, Donovan continues showing her work nationwide in cities like Woodstock, Il, Fayetteville, NC, and Hermosa Beach, CA. She currently resides in Rock Hill, SC, working as a Graduate Assistant in the Fine Arts Department at Winthrop.


Artist Statement

My work explores the malleability of memory through experiencing the warped sense of nostalgia. My study of memory has uncovered that no matter how unique or specified it is, the provoked feeling of nostalgia is universally recognized. Nostalgia stems from the Greek roots; “nos” meaning “to return” and “algia” meaning “suffering”. It is the bittersweet feeling of remembering the past, happy moments and the pain of not being able to return or relive those moments.

Childhood memories are dishonest and manipulative, clouded by the levity and lighthearted perspective children have. When analyzed with the knowledge of lived experiences, the meaning of that memory is completely changed. The mind makes emotional connections to a span of time rather than an actual event and that is why childhood tends to be remembered so fondly overall. I provoke an enticing sense of comfort to mimic nostalgia’s yearning, but I layer the sense of discomfort within each work to shift the perspective back and forth creating a dialogue between memory and reality. What we yearn to go back to is not real, but we can make it be now.

I explore what we trust most; our own memory and its inaccuracy. Memory is the foundation of our identities, and I expose its dishonesty by creating environments of intense discomfort. The worry and anxiety that goes hand in hand with adult responsibilities is gained through the act of growing up and metaphorically packing away your childhood toys, you are closing the trunk on the unedited mindset of childhood. However, as an adult, you have the ability to revisit, relive and reconstruct the meaning of it.