This Ridiculous Fight

        Zeitgeist is pleased to present a new work from Nashville-based artist John Donovan.

This Ridiculous Fight continues John’s line of inquiry that combines the playful nature of toys and the innocence lost in our conflict-laden culture.

John’s latest body of work combines drawings and ceramics based on pre-Columbian and Chinese Han dynasty-era ceramic figures. The idea of the figures as accessorized toys is balanced with a prevailing historical record that champions war and aggression.

John Donovan is a sculptor who moved to Nashville from New Orleans nine years ago. His primary medium of choice is clay; chosen for its accessibility and familiarity to viewers and also because of the traditional expectations associated with ceramics as a “craft medium.” Images hand-built and molded from toys invoke an innocence that is juxtaposed with conflict and loss of innocence. Although there is a lot of humor in the work it also comments on the violent and complicated nature of our culture. According to the artist:

“My work is as much defined by the after school cartoons I grew up watching like the Transformers and G.I. Joe as it is by my current concerns which include raising children in a media-saturated world and a relentless fear of growing up myself.  I enjoy creating tension between the initial lighthearted appearance of the image and a subterranean tone of distress or alarm.  The work, when done well, can be both threatening and playful at once, a classic dichotomy often encountered in daily life.”

This is John Donovan’s second solo Zeitgeist show. His work has been featured in the last New Orleans Prospect One shows, the Frist Center for Visual Art, the Fugitive Art Center, and Ruby Green. He is currently teaching sculpture at Middle Tennessee State University and has served as an instructor with the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.


john donovan


April 7 through April 30, 2011