Tara Donovan article abstract

The Wall Street Journal

December 24, 2008

Leisure and Arts, Section J, 1035 words

Title: Art: Magician of Man-Made Materials

Author: Lance Esplund

 This article reviews the 2008 exhibition of works by sculptor Tara Donovan at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Massachusetts. The author discusses Donovan’s transformations of common materials such as pencils, buttons or Styrofoam cups as she explores their properties of shape, texture, translucency and malleability. She then layers stacks and binds thousands, if not millions, of the same material together to create her minimalist sculptures. The author likes Donovan’s success at creating “allusions and illusions”  in her work by using multiples of a material to produce forms that resemble something else.  Donovan considers her work “site responsive” as she often re-installs or re-scales her works to fit the venue. The author describes what he calls the “ah ha” experience where the viewer is no longer engaged in the effect of the whole piece, but rather focuses on identifying the individual elements of common, everyday material. The result of this viewer experience is that the true transformation is lost and the work loses its ability to become more than the sum of its parts.

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