Dru Donovan

Artist in Residence, 2018

A portrait of a person against a light background.

Artist Statement

Much of my work explores connections between corporal and emotional states utilizing strategies of constructing or revisiting experiences. The viewer’s inability to parse or place gesture is common in my photography and video. Often the work gives no sound, no history or purpose, and no entry or exit; the underlying subject leaves us with just a physical negotiation, one that simultaneously suggests affinity and belies subtle force. Through culture and experience, we are taught to discern harm from care, subjugation from cooperation, and intimacy from intrusion, but my work attempts to strip the usual clues—context, identity, motivation—that allow us to believe we understand. This confusion points to a troubling ambiguity at the heart of interpersonal interaction: that force and care cannot be untwined. The ambivalent gestures isolated in my videos and photographs dwell in this nuance and let us consider that in cooperation, we’re still individuals, and in conflict, we still relate

While At Headlands

I plan on continuing to examine the relationship between static and moving images while aiming to explore new content that is reflecting this given moment in U.S. culture and society. The gestures I plan on isolating are in consideration of systems of power and moments of disruption and will look at protests, labor, violence, and ritual. The videos I will be making will operate as an extended still in which subtle shifts in repetitive gestures will offer viewers contemplation of moments otherwise unexamined in peripheral spaces. My aim is to reduce external information that contextualizes the scene, so there is a seamless action that doesn’t appear to begin or end. My hope is that these takes offer an extended look at ambiguous acts that explode closed systems and open an opportunity for unresolved tensions and conflicts.