Donna Lougher

Donna Lougher Exhibition Notes: ‘Diaspore’

‘Diaspora’ refers to a ‘scattering’ from the original Greek Diaspores. In this originating definition it refers specifically to a scattering of fruits and seeds - creating new life, inhabiting a barren space, bringing life where there was none – in short, growth. It may also refer of course to a scattering of lives, of migration - new lives in new places, new possibilities, new forms, new worlds.

In this new body of work such concepts are the central logic of Donna’s practice, they are the line of energy which runs throughout and binds these scattered works together, creating a core intent which links them securely, however ‘disparate’ they may seem at first contact.

Once a seed is released into flight, into a stream, or an animal’s stomach, it begins a journey, one subject to the vagaries of natural forces, much like the condition of an artist’s imagination. In the case of Donna’s imagination this journey is never foreclosed, never circumscribed by a preconceived destination or predetermined closure.

What art can do is to occupy as many spaces as artists can create or work within, and there are some things that only art can do. I believe that when art occupies this space it is closest to its most significant and peculiar function - that is exploration along an intuitive line, a line that extends the artist into unknown spaces. The artist becomes that seed and the artwork becomes the colonisation of a new space – the result is growth.

Donna’s paintings are in this way perhaps a product of the poetics of risk and trust in process which begins with influential ideas and thoughts, and then develops through the nature of the medium and the elements towards a resolution which occurs essentially organically.

In many of these works the actual seed appears as a catalyst to the development of the plant and herein is the growth of the subject itself, fruits too populate these paintings, completing the cycle. A second grouping of works contains images from the artists studio windows which somehow morph into a series of studies at times reflecting still life with painterly floating forms. Artistic sources as diverse as Warhol and Morandi tangentially inhabit this exhibition but it is a deep engagement with natural forms, patterns and systems which is the primary influence.

In all these works the paint is applied freely, at times luscious and chroma-loaded, at others ethereal and subtle, but always in a questing, exploratory mode. This involves risk since it grows instinctually but it is this which provides the freshness and dynamism of Donna’s vision. One can easily sense the artwork’s creation and engage directly with the ‘honesty’ of the process. In Donna’s view the human is merely a vessel, a conduit for feeling to enter, to inhabit and from which to emerge. There is much beyond us, beyond the merely rational, and we must be open to that. There is dark and light, good and bad but we must allow it all in and to accept it to nurture growth. Art is the key to open that door as few other things can be.

To quote Rumi:
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond”
Sean Kelly