Known for her commitment to process, Tara Donovan has earned acclaim for her ability to discover the physical characteristics of an object and transform it into art. Pace, a leading contemporary art gallery, will present Tara Donovan: Compositions later this month.
Extending upon an interest in investigating procedures, Donovan’s recent series is comprised of wall-mounted framed works. The works explore stratification as both a sculptural technique, and a means to construct a two-dimensional picture plane.
Presented in dense groupings of individual works, the exhibition subverts notions of Minimalist seriality. It does this by playing with the anonymous, mechanical format of repeated objects.
While seemingly a display of inert monochrome works from afar, the curious viewer is rewarded with responsive, undulating fields of material upon closer inspection. By using the frame as a means to control density and orientation, the work inverts the sculptural logic of voluminous horizontal stacking. There is a suggestion that the layered styrene cards are stalagmites or wind-eroded outcroppings.
The convergence of the styrene cards becomes a dynamic two-dimensional pattern of parallel lines. Combining the linearity of drawing with the materiality of painting, the surface gains sculptural volume when you move around the work. In turn, this reveals the depth inherent to the negative spaces between each of the cards.
“The process of making comes after I’ve figured out what I want the material to do, and what it is that the material is revealing in a phenomenological or perceptual way”, she said in an interview with Aileen Kwun in 2015 for Surface.
For the last 20 years, Donovan has used simple, mass produced materials and objects. Her work explores the transformative effects of accumulation and aggregation. Donovan has, at times, utilised hundreds of thousands of units. This includes straws, pins, or cups to generate perceptual phenomena and subtle atmospheric effects.
Tara Donovan: Compositions will be on view from 24 January to 9 March 2018 at 6 Burlington Gardens, London. Pace London is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment on Monday.
Images courtesy of Pace Gallery | Composition (Cards), 2017, Styrene cards and glue
Photograph by Kerry Ryan McFate © Tara Donovan,