Photo courtesy of Carly Ann Faye 



Katie Donovan is a third year MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), focusing on drawing and performance art. Katie was a recipient of SIUE's Competitive Graduate Award in 2015 and has shown in several galleries in the St. Louis area, including the Cathy Gregory Gallery. She received the Laumeier Sculpture Award from juror and UMSL 210 Gallery Director Terry Suhre in the 2017 SIUE Annual Student Juried Exhibition Show and the SIUE Wendy Petit Gay Memorial Scholarship in 2017. Katie resides in the greater St. Louis area.


Artist Statement

Artist Statement

Artist Statement

“Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them,

we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them...”

-Rebecca Solnit


If someone is willing to believe a story, what does that willingness say about him or her? Our willingness to accept and adhere to specific narratives can be incredibly revealing of our perspective.


I create drawings and performance works that invite the viewer to reconsider what they trust to be real or authentic, to investigate how they establish realness or authenticity for themselves, and to contemplate what their own processes of determining reality from illusion reveal about them.


To create two-dimensional work is to be an illusionist; the artist creates the illusion of three-dimensionality in a two-dimensional format. But where drawing is an act of illusion, my drawings utilize imagery referential of publications that carry connotations of legitimacy: scientific botanical illustration, natural history illustration, field guides, and illuminated manuscripts. This imagery is paired with text regarding traumatic narratives or fictitious futuristic musings on 21st century concerns, such as climate change denial and the psychological methods at play within advertisement. The unexpected relationship between imagery rooted in science or history and emotional or illusory text forces the viewer to begin a process of sorting through different kinds of “truths.” Is an emotional truth more real or authentic than a historical one? What is the relationship between the two?


My performance art is typically built on simple materials and a set of rules that I have constructed. Usually the rules are created in such a way that viewers are forced into participating, either through action or inaction. Due to the nature of the rules I set in place, the inevitable action or inaction of the viewer teases out certain beliefs. For example, the performance piece Drawing With Katie begins with viewers watching me approach a Vanitas drawing that I have constructed to one third of its completion. They are given the choice of either watching me destroy the drawing or drawing for me by moving my hand, which holds an ink pen, across the page. If they choose not to act they are choosing to have the drawing destroyed. The viewers’ action or inaction reveals their beliefs regarding originality, authorship, control, and value.


Both my drawings and performance pieces seek to start a conversation with viewers about what is true, how we can find the truth, and how our processes of determining what is true have potential to be more exposing and compelling than that “truth” itself.





MFA    College of Arts & Sciences, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2018

BA       College of Arts & Sciences, Studio Art, Saint Louis University, 2010


Professional Experience


Spring 2018     Instructor of Record – 202E, Introduction To Studio: Drawing           

                                    Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Fall 2017         Instructor of Record – 112B, 2D Design, Visual Organization I

                                    Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Spring 2017     Gallery Assistant

                                    Art & Design West Gallery, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Fall 2016         Instructor of Record – 112A, Foundations Drawing

                                    Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Solo Exhibitions


2015                ‘Two Faced Men,’ Central Studio,

                                  St. Louis, Missouri


Group Exhibitions


2018               ‘Varsity Art XXII,’ Art Saint Louis

                                    St. Louis, Missouri

                       ‘Annual Juried Student Show,’ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

                                    Edwardsville, Illinois. Juror: Kate Anderson, Fiber Artist


2017                ‘Small Works Art Show,’ Wood River Museum and Visitors Center,

                                     Wood River, Illinois. Juror: Barbara Nwacha, Chair for SIUE Art & Design.

                       ‘2017 Annual Contemporary Art Survey,’ The Lincoln Center,

                                     Fort Collins, Colorado. Juror: Zoe Larkins, Associate Curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

                       ‘Louis’s Legacy: Artists Respond to Louis Sullivan,’ Edwardsville Art Center,

                                    Edwardsville, Illinois. Curator: Brigham Dimick, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

                        ‘Annual Juried Student Show,’ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

                                    Edwardsville, Illinois. Juror: Terry Suhre, Director of UMSL 210 Gallery


2016                ‘Annual Juried Student Show,’ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

                                    Edwardsville, Illinois. Juror: Cheryl Wassenaar, Chair of Undergraduate Design,

                                    Sam Fox School, Washington University

                         ‘MFA Pop Up Show,’ Southern Illinois University Edwardsville,

                                   Edwardsville, Illinois


2015                ‘Skin: Figurative Art,’ Cathy Gregory Gallery

                                    St. Louis, Missouri

                        ‘Group Exhibition,’ Art Bar,

                                   St. Louis, Missouri


Curated Shows                


2017                ‘In the Raw: The Sketchbook Considered,’ Edwardsville Art Center,

                                   Edwardsville, Illinois


Honors and awards


2017               Research Grant for Graduate Students, SIUE

                       Second Place Award, Small Works Art Show, Wood River Museum and Visitors Center

                       Wendy Petit Gay Memorial Scholarship, SIUE

                        Sculptors at Wagner Award, SIUE


2015                Competitive Graduate Award, SIUE                 


Professional Engagements


2016                Speaker, Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Saint Louis University

2015                Speaker, Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Saint Louis University


Media Coverage    


2017                  The Jealous Curator, “katie donovan,”

                                      September 15, 2017

                          The Creative Unconscious, “Katie Donovan,”

                                      September 10, 2017

                          Create! Magazine, May 2017 Issue Feature, Curated by Sandra Apperloo, creator and writer for “Artistic Moods”

                          Edwardsville Intelligencer, “Peeking into an artist’s world,”

                                       April 29, 2017                                   

                          Belleville News Democrat, “SIUE Student’s Response to Louis Sullivan Work Chosen for Exhibition,”

                                       February 21, 2017             


2016                The Jealous Curator, “katie lochhead,” November 24, 2016,


2014                St. Louis Magazine, “Seven Questions With Artist Katie Lochhead”





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