Tara Donovan Part 1

November 10, 2008


The phenomenal material effects in Donovan’s work stem from many of the strategies listed above. There is a tremendous amount of introspection that occurs wherein the optical effects of the material are amplified by their pairing with an aggregation strategy. For example the mirrored Mylar of the her spherical Mylar sculpture would not be nearly as effective if she had not rolled the reflective material, thereby allowing the reflective material to pickup the tonal and luminance differences in the floor and ceiling. Like wise her selection of Styrofoam cups for her ceiling installation reveals the slight translucency of the cups, that when backlit transforms the reading of the construction from coffered to a surface inscribed with circles. In a sense, Donovan is a master of revealing the latent physical properties of ordinary materials.

Donovan’s work reveals the nature of synthetic human objects and environments. I am of the mind that the distinction between the natural and manmade world is a false one. That humans are apart of nature, we are in the most glorious sense, animals. Therefore all of our production, be it material or intellectual, is with in the realm of nature. A better distinction might be the difference between toxic and non-toxic processes. If we redefine “nature” in these terms, then it is easy to find examples outside of human production that are “toxic” to the environment. Donovan’s work places many of the more toxic items of human production into formal dialogue with natural generative geometries.


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