Jeff Donovan: A Chronology Compiled by Wim Roefs
Born in Milford, Delaware, to Dave and Ruth Donovan. His sister, Debbie, was born in 1959.
1958 – 1975
Moves a lot as Dave Donovan is in the Air Force. Before completing high school in Dover, Delaware, lives in Florida, Washington State, Libya, South Carolina, the Philippines and Illinois.
Attends Ringling School of Art, Sarasota, Fla., but drops out after an unsatisfying second year.
Completes Reclining Nude, which he considers his first successful painting.
Moves to Columbia, S.C. After a few months, begins working as a general contractor in partnership with a former fellow student at Ringling who lives in Columbia, until around 1990.
Is drawn to the paintings by Francis Bacon.
1978 - 79
Completes Selected Figure With Orange Stocking, then priced at $30, The Idiot Talk Show Host and The Watcher. Other early paintings include Idiot Cowboy and John, John, The Idiot Cowboy.
Is included in the South Carolina Arts Commission Juried exhibition at the Columbia Museum of Art. His entry, Figure In A Pool, ca. 1981, receives a Certificate of Distinction and is purchased for $100 by prominent Columbia collector Mark Coplan, thus finding its way into the premier private collection of South Carolina art of the past three decades.
Is included in the Columbia Artists’ Guild exhibition at the University of South Carolina’s Longstreet Theater and receives the BlueCross BlueShield purchase award. His entry is one of the few landscapes he ever painted.
Marries Susan Matthews.
Is included in the South Carolina Arts Commission Juried exhibition at the Columbia Museum of Art.
His daughter, Rose, is born.
Participates in the South Carolina State Fair art exhibition in Columbia. Paints The Yawn and Overhead but then stops painting for a decade.
Gets a divorce.
Develops Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
Develops his initial interest in Buddhism and will become a Buddhist in 1991.
Stops working as a general contractor. After helping on a renovation job, begins working with a partner as a set builder for video productions.
Spends three summer months at a Buddhist retreat in Colorado.
Gets full custody of his daughter.
Takes up painting again, working in the set design shop, and completes, among others, Lonesome Dave Surveys The Prairie and The Friar With The Plywood Collar Goes Boating, which in 2005 becomes the model for a ceramic sculpture. Another painting, Dream Boating, in 2008 will become the model for the ceramic sculpture Dream Boater, now in the collection of the Columbia Museum of Art. The oil pastel Two Drunk Popes in 1999 becomes the model for a woodcut.
Stops working as a set builder to paint full time.
Rents his first real studio, at Gallery 701 in Columbia, until 2000.
Joins the Columbia artists group Osmosis with Eileen Blyth, Michael Dickens, J. Christopher Maty-Jasik, Tom Ogburn and Laura Spong. The group aims to create group exhibitions of its members’ work.
Takes a job framing art at City Art Gallery in Columbia.
Leaves the City Art job and begins working at ReNewell Fine Art Conservation in Columbia.
Is in The Muse @ Gallery 701, a group exhibition of artists maintaining a studio at 701 Whaley St. in Columbia.
Participates in the Osmosis exhibition Against The Grain at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in Columbia, in which group members show woodcut prints, a new medium for many of the participants, including Donovan. The exhibition travels to the University of South Carolina Lancaster.
The Osmosis exhibition Against The Grain travels to the Blue Pony Gallery in Charlotte, N.C.
Participates in the second Osmosis exhibition, at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios. The show, titled 3 x 6, consists of triptychs. For the exhibition creates Earth Tone and Overhead, a new version of the 1984 painting by the same name.
Is included in the Hub City Juried Art Exhibition at the Spartanburg County Museum of Art, Spartanburg, S.C.
Participates in the Osmosis exhibition Expressions at the Mendenhall Gallery at Davidson County Community College, Lexington, N.C.
The Osmosis exhibition 3 x 6 travels to Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C.
Participates in Galleria 2003, an Osmosis exhibition the Uptown Deli in Sumter, S.C.
Has his first solo exhibition, Anatomically Incorrect, at Fresh Pastabilities restaurant in Columbia.
Participates in Paper – Papier – Papyrus, a group exhibition at Columbia’s Gallery 80808/Vista Studios; others in the exhibition include Lynne Burgess, Laura Spong and Mike Williams.
Is included in Figuration: An International Group Show at the Jackson Gallery in Aiken, S.C., with Dutch artist Kees Salentijn, Spain’s Andres Nagel, Mexico’s Luis Filcer, Germany’s Klaus Hartmann and Americans Tonya Gregg, Michael Hale, Margie Lee, Eric Miller and Lucretia Van Horn.
Completes elaborate, improvisational, non-objective floor-and-wall tile compositions in two bathrooms at the Columbia home of Wim Roefs and Eileen Waddell, followed by a public unveiling and reception.
Starts making ceramic sculpture, taking classes with Peter Lenzo at Southern Pottery in Columbia.
Is included in Columbia Contemporary: Columbia Visual Arts Invitational, organized by Mary Gilkerson, at the Goodall Gallery, Columbia College, Columbia, S.C. The exhibition marks his debut as a ceramic artist. Others in the exhibition included Stephen Chesley, Gilkerson, Russell Jeffcoat, Marcelo Novo, Janet Orseilli, Laura Spong, Mike Williams, Edward Wimberly and David Yaghjian.
Is included South Carolina Birds: A Fine Art Exhibition, a contemporary art exhibition at the Sumter (S.C.) Gallery of Art, curated by Wim Roefs. Others among the 43 artists in the exhibition included Carl Blair, Steven Chapp, Stephen Chesley, Tonya Gregg, Bill Jackson, Marcelo Novo, Janet Orselli, Edward Rice, Tom Stanley, H. Brown Thornton, Leo Twiggs and Mike Williams The exhibition later that year travels to the Franklin G. Burrough–Simeon B.Burroughs & Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Shows with Jason Amick, Eric Miller and John O’Neill in Good Art In A Home, the first exhibition of if ART, International Fine Art Services, at the Columbia residence of Eileen Waddell and if ART owner Wim Roefs.
Has a solo exhibition at the Etheredge Center Art Gallery, University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, S.C.
Is in another Good Art In A Home exhibition with Kees Salentijn, Renee Rouillier and Tom Stanley.
Studies ceramics with Christina Cordova for two months at the Penland School of Crafts, Penland, N.C.
His ceramic wall sculpture Blue Figure, created during his studies at the Penland School of Craft, is acquired by Ron Porter and Joe Price, prominent Columbia collectors of figurative ceramics.
Is part of Configuration, a Figurative Ceramics Concentration Group Exhibition at the Penland School of Crafts Gallery, Penland, N.C.
Rents a studio at Vista Studios in Columbia.
Is part of Humans: Jeff Donovan, John Monteith, Dorothy Netherland & Herb Parker, an if ART exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, Columbia, S.C.
Joins if ART Gallery, which opened in November in Columbia, S.C.
South Carolina Birds: A Fine Art Exhibition travels to the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, S.C., and the Pickens County Museum of Art and History in Pickens, S.C.
Is part of Construction Crew III: Steven Chapp, Jeff Donovan, Janet Orselli & Edward Rice, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in Columbia, S.C.
Is part of The Inventory, an if ART Gallery exhibition at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, Columbia, S.C., and The Salon I & II, two simultaneous exhibitions at if ART Gallery and Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.
The Columbia Museum of Art purchases Dream Boater, 2008, ceramic, wood and paint, 22 x 24 x 14 inches.
Is part of Salon III: The Print Exhibition, at if ART Gallery.
In January has his first career retrospective, Three Decades/Twenty Years, an if ART Gallery production at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios in Columbia, S.C..