my make believe collection 15 :: tara donovan

Contributor post by Lisa Solomon 

tara donovan - bluffs - made out of buttons/glue
happy new year poppytalk ! i spent alot of time this winter break thinking about what artists i want to add to my collection. i thought i'd kick off 2012 with another all time favorite... and something a bit more installational.

i think it's safe to say that material is a very important construct in contemporary art. what art is actually made out of informs the meaning and content of the work. a "painting" made with something other than paint [say food] starts to relate to a whole host of other issues and ideas. if you paint with chocolate then not only are you twisting the idea of what a painting is --  the smell, and the relationship to the history of chocolate or candy making, not to mention the sheer delight in the surprise of an alternate use for chocolate can enhance or enrich your own and your viewer's experience with the work.

tara donovan - bluffs - made out of buttons/glue - detail
there are a whole host of artists using "alternate" materials these days, but one of my favorites [hands down] is tara donovan.

tara donovan - colony - cut pencils and glue - detail
tara donovan - colony - cut pencils and glue 
part of what draws me in particular to ms. donovan's work is the sheer scale. she uses really mundane items - pencils, buttons, styrofoam and plastic cups, tape, pins, etc. which generally are pretty diminutive in size and sculpts them in to massive pieces and environments.
tara donovan - cup installation [with people so you can get a sense of scale]

 tara donovan - plastic cup installation

i love that they are organic - that she is using stuff that we encounter in our daily life to make things that feel cellular. the play between using these familiar, yet industrialized materials to make biomorphic and almost genetic feeling shapes and environments intrigues me.

tara donovan - cute made out of pins - held together solely with gravity and placement

i also like that they are SO grand, and yet still retain a sense of humor. and a sense of hand. these are meticulously constructed. above is a complete and total nod to big boy minimalist art in which there were a lot of cubes being made [donald juddrobert morris, david smith] - but theirs were stable, hard, manly. hers are delicate and ultimately precarious - because they could fall apart at any moment. hers relate much more to eva hesse
tara donovan - made from fishing line
these are indeed minimal - in color and usually in shape - something is repeated over and over until it becomes another, but they are also something else. and i think that is no easy feat.

tara donovan - transplanted - detail
she said that she looks at a material and wonders how she can transform it. that the material comes first and then the sculpture/installation is formed. these are all delicate and precarious and yet also unnerving, right? that juxtoposition is intriguing.

tara donovan - transplanted - made from tar paper

of course the fact that these materials are usually "throw away" things that we just use and discard - basically don't think about in the least is also what makes these so powerful. they hint of the enormity of our wastefulness. how we take objects for granted and how ultimately anything [yes really anything] can become beautiful and mysterious if we take the time to transform it. that is so powerful. that idea. 

so what would i want? i'd be happy [yet again] with any of these, but a paper plate sculpture would suit me. 

tara donovan - made from paper plates - with detail

tara donovan - haze - plastic straws on one wall
tara donovan - haze - plastic straws - whole room
or i wouldn't say no to a room of plastic straws either. since this is make believe i could have a giant room and have her fill all four walls. that would be an intensely beautiful room to just sit quietly in i think.

keep track of my growing collection on pinterest. looking at the board i REALLY am stuck on a color scheme. maybe i'll try to break out of that next time. or maybe not...


lisa solomon is a mixed media artist who lives in oakland, CA with her husband, young daughter, a one eyed pit bull, a french bulldog, a cross-eyed cat, a 3 legged cat, and many many spools of thread. she moonlights as a college professor, a graphic designer, and is a partner in MODify/d a crafty biz that up/cycles and re/purposes discards from the fashion industry.

Jan Halvarson


dahlhaus said...

Wow- these are stunning! Kind of reminds me of Vancouver artist Brian Jungan's whale sculpture ( called Shape Shifter) made out of plastic lawn chairs. His work would be in my imaginary collection...

lisa s said...

ooohh. i'll have to look him up ! thanks for the tip.
glad you like these.

Maitreya said...

Ha, I got yelled at in a gallery for trying to take a picture of the whale sculpture!

lisa s said...

oh that's funny. ;)
did you get it or not?