Tara Donovan

Apr 15 – May 28, 2021
Palm Beach

Tara Donovan’s practice is characterized by her ongoing exploration of the aesthetic potential of her chosen media as well as her formidable capacity to challenge and play with the limits of perception.

Exhibition Details

Tara Donovan
Apr 15 – May 28, 2021

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340 Royal Poinciana Way
Suite M333
Palm Beach

Above: Tara Donovan, Composition (Cards), 2020, Styrene cards and glue, 39-1/4" x 59-1/4" x 4" © Tara Donovan

Pace Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of work by Tara Donovan which will reexamine the artist’s seminal Composition (Cards) series at the gallery’s outpost in Palm Beach. Ethereal, illusive pieces made from styrene index cards, the five sculptural paintings on view exemplify Donovan’s unique approach to artmaking, a generative process in which she incrementally and cumulatively shapes her work. Collectively, Donovan’s practice is characterized by her ongoing exploration of the aesthetic potential of her chosen media as well as her formidable capacity to challenge and play with the limits of perception.

Since the early 2000s, Donovan has created sculptures and installation works through the rigorous accumulation, arrangement, and repetition of mass-produced, banal materials such as drinking straws, Styrofoam cups, rubber bands, or Scotch tape. Donovan works systematically with large quantities of these quotidian objects, leveraging the material properties of the items to build sublime atmospheric structures that play with light, color, texture, and translucence in an exploration of the innumerable ways in which a medium can behave. The subtle yet powerful perceptual shifts that characterize Donovan’s work align her with the Californian Light and Space artists, while her sustained emphasis on process, pattern, and seriality situates her in conversation with the Postminimalists. Ultimately, her distinctive work is elusive, resistant to categorization, and transcendent in its ability to activate, drive, and shape experience between viewers, their environment, and one another.

Extending upon the artist’s core interest in investigating aggregative procedures using a singular material, the wall-mounted Composition (Cards) works explore stratification as both a sculptural technique and a means to construct a two-dimensional picture plane. Variously evoking topographical maps, weavings, landscape paintings, and geometric designs, these pieces—which Donovan has described as “sculptural paintings” that function outside of classical divisions between media—comprise stacked styrene cards laid on their sides to look like vertical lines. Working from freehand templates, she laboriously and incrementally stacks the cards, actively improvising to shape the unique spaces between each individual unit, and ultimately producing relief-style abstractions that exude liveliness, rich in the illusion of dimensionality and movement.

Collectively, the Composition (Cards) are characterized by a proliferation of intricate patterns with lenticular or holographic effects, marked by subtle shifts in pattern and texture established through their interplay between positive and negative spaces, as the viewer’s eye moves or the light changes. The works—combining the linearity of drawing, the materiality of painting, and the volumetric capabilities of sculpture—amply demonstrate Donovan’s talent for coaxing an almost otherworldly beauty from seemingly mundane materials in an embodiment of optimized perception.

Donovan was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in 2019. Tara Donovan: Fieldwork then traveled to the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago.

Tara Donovan Portrait 2018.jpg

Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan’s large-scale installations, sculptures, drawings, and prints utilize everyday objects to explore the transformative effects of accumulation and aggregation.

By identifying and exploiting the usually overlooked physical properties of modest, mass-produced goods, Donovan creates ethereal works that challenge our perceptual habits and preconceptions. The atmospheric effects of her art align her with Light and Space artists, such as Robert Irwin and James Turrell, while her commitment to a laborious and site-responsive methodology links her to Postminimalist and Process artists, especially Eva Hesse, Jackie Winsor, Richard Serra, and Robert Morris.

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