Donna Howard is a painter who works in acrylic and watercolour, creating artworks that combine abstract and figurative elements with a poppy, cartoonish aesthetic. Though Donna’s artworks capitalize on contemporary pop aesthetics, many carry hints of deeper (and sometimes darker) conceptual intent.
I like how Donna creates paintings with layered aesthetics -- in many recent works, the artist builds a background of abstract geometric tiles, with brightly coloured, childlike illustrations of animals in the foreground. With titles like Youthful Aspirations, My Plummet, and Victim of Love, one wonders if the cartoon animals in these paintings are in fact allegorical or somehow representative of characters or actors in the real world, or at least in the artist’s own life.
Some of Donna’s recent works are more strictly abstract, and use geometries that borrow from a mid-century modern aesthetic. It’s this bright, colourful aesthetic that helps these works find cohesion with the rest of the artist’s portfolio, and makes the viewer wonder if there’s still more here than meets the eye.