Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan. American, born 1969. Untitled,2003. Ink on foam core. Gift of Tony Ganz. 2011:62-2. Photograph by Petegorsky/Gipe.

There is an unmistakable magic in Tara Donovan’s work. Her large-scale sculptural projects transform vast quantities of a single common material, such as plastic cups, drinking straws, adding machine paper, cellophane tape, or shirt buttons, into evocative and organic-looking accumulations.


Donovan studied sculpture at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and Virginia Commonwealth University. One of her first major projects, Moiré(1999; also a recent gift to SCMA) is composed of large rolls of adding machine paper draped in sinuous patterns. Another notable piece entitled Ripple,shown in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, consisted of small sections of copper electrical cable arranged in cascading dunes on the floor.


Her drawings are similarly focused on quotidian materials and biomorphic forms, but they seem to foreground process even more. Donovan initially resisted making 2-dimensional work when she was invited by David Lasry from Two Palms Press in New York to make a print. After visiting the shop she realized that Two Palms had equipment which would allow her to use one of her sculptural arrangements as a printing matrix. Her first unique print (or drawing, as she calls them) was made using rolls of adding machine paper arranged in a tray so that the edges could be inked and printed in relief.  This type of unique two-dimensional work, using materials such as stickers, rubber bands, shattered plate glass, and dressmaker’s pins as either matrices or media, has been a regular part of her art ever since.


Untitledis a fairly early experimental two-dimensional work in which Donovan used soap bubbles as drawing tool. Combining ink and soap, the artist used a straw to blow bubbles in the liquid. She then carefully transferred bubbles of different sizes and patterns onto a sheet of white foam core. The bubbles were left to either pop or dissolve, leaving a unique image that captures an ephemeral occurrence.

Tara Donovan. American, born 1969. Untitled,2003. (detail) Ink on foam core. Gift of Tony Ganz. 2011:62-2. Photograph by Petegorsky/Gipe. 


This work will be on view in the Targan Gallery on the SCMA lower level until November 2012.


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