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self-centered | Shay Donovan

Showing from June 12 to June 26, 2023

Self-Centered (2023) is a series of oil and mixed-media paintings that connect external anxieties and the vulnerability of self-expression.

Each painting investigates a different persona and environment, stemming from a desire to explore and express “the self” in multitudes. In these self-portraits I inject a certain amount of tenderness that manifests in the painting as visual self-soothing and splicing of calming images in order to counteract the discomfort that comes with expressing an exposed version of yourself. As someone who doesn’t subscribe to gender-norms, my appearance is something I am hyper-aware of, especially in situations where it could put me at risk of violence or accostment this is where I draw inspiration from. Bathed in symbolism, my personas in these paintings each deal with a lack of control both at the hand of outside forces, and internal struggles that present themselves in a tangible way.”

About the Artist

Shay Donovan is an interdisciplinary artist based out of Guelph, and a graduate of the Studio Art program at the University of Guelph. Shay creates representative artwork focusing on expression and anxieties surrounding the human condition through painting, textile work, and photography. With the integration of mild distortion and occult imagery, Shay introduces an accessible library of symbols found in the subconscious that any viewer can find themselves in. Shay will be starting at NSCAD in Fall 2023 to pursue an MFA.

Available Work

"From the Fields, Into the Sea"

Oil on Canvas, 30"x 24", 2022


"Feed the Furnace"

Oil on Canvas, 18"x 24", 2022


"Take a Picture, Make it Real"

Oil on Canvas, 36"x 36", 2023


"Out the Other Side"

Oil on Canvas, 30"x 48", 2023


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