INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art
today announced an exhibition of works by contemporary American artist Tara Donovan. Opening April 4, 2010, and on display through August 1, 2010, Tara Donovan: Untitled will feature a number of Donovans sculptural installations and drawings, including a newly commissioned work that will fill an entire room of the gallery. This will be the first major museum exhibition to present Donovans sculptures and drawings togetheroffering the most complete view of her artistic practices to date. The IMA will offer free admission to this special exhibition as part of its commitment to make the museum accessible to the broadest possible audience. Free admission to Tara Donovan: Untitled is made possible by a grant from Eli Lilly and Company Foundation.
One of the chief goals of the IMAs contemporary program is to provide our audience with access to some of the most exciting and innovative work by artists practicing today. Tara Donovans production is distinguished by its sheer ingenuity, both in terms of how she approaches her materials and the environment of the gallery, said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA. This exhibition demonstrates the IMAs commitment to promoting ambitious artists and their projects, and I am pleased that the IMA can play a leadership role in how encyclopedic museums can support contemporary artists.
In the large-scale sculptural installations presented in this show, Donovan dramatically transforms everyday materialssuch as pencils, Elmers glue, and electrical cableinto sublime abstract environments. Known for her commitment to process, Donovan employs a labor-intensive method of accumulation to explore the perceptual and atmospheric effects that result from a vast multiplication of individual units. Carefully attuned to the innate sculptural properties of these typically non-art materials, Donovan draws on their specific characteristics in often surprising ways.
The resulting configurations evoke a sense of expansive growth, as well as natural phenomena such as ripples, clouds, haze and undulating landscapes, transcending the mundane qualities of the materials of which they are composed. Donovans drawings engage in an important dialogue with the materials and processes explored in her installations. Donovans inventive use of materials, combined with the untitled nature of the works, promotes endless free associations and open interpretations, encouraging the viewers active engagement.
Donovans sculptures engage in a lively dialogue with the legacies of artistic movements of the 1960s and 70s such as assemblage, post-minimalism and scatter art, while bringing an entirely new perspective to her chosen materials through an almost obsessive-compulsive method of repetition and accumulation. Her works have gained renown for the way in which they often spark immediate and visceral responses from viewers. The ingenuity and ambitiousness of Donovans unique sculptural practice earned her a 2008 MacArthur genius award.
"Tara Donovan has distinguished herself as one of the most formally inventive artists of her generation," said Lisa Freiman, chair of the IMAs department of contemporary art. "She's a modern-day alchemist, with an extraordinary ability to elicit unexpected sculptural effects from simple everyday materials, transforming them into installations that consistently surprise and amaze viewers. Her sculptural installations and drawings provoke viewers to think about materiality in new ways."
Regarding her installations, Donovan has said: Certainly the idea of medium specificity is inherent in my work, but also the idea of abstraction and the sublime. It is often said that modernist painting is an infinite plane defined only by its framing. This is the same way I feel about my own work with the parameters of architectural space.
Many of Donovans installations can be expanded or contracted to conform to an exhibition space and are often integrated into their architectural setting, in a manner Donovan terms siteresponsive. In this show, Donovans installations, many of which have never been exhibited together, will fill the 10,000-plus square feet in the Allen Whitehill Clowes special exhibition gallery at the IMA, together with examples of her drawings from the past 10 years. In addition to a newly commissioned room-sized work composed of Mylar molecules, Donovans sculptures at the IMA will include works composed of ripped and stacked tarpaper, pencils, Elmers glue, plastic cups, cut electrical cable, and adding machine paper.
Tara Donovan was born in 1969 in New York City, where she currently lives and works. Donovan received a BFA from Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington D.C., in 1991, and an MFA in sculpture from the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, in 1999. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2007), the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis (2006), and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2004), among others. Most recently, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston organized a survey of Donovans work in a show titled Tara Donovan, which opened in October 2008 and has traveled to venues including the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, and the Des Moines Art Center, and will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in the fall of 2009. Donovans installation Ripple was featured in the 2000 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Donovan was the recipient of the Alexander Calder Foundations first annual Calder Prize in 2005 and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program (nicknamed the genius) grant in 2008.