Last week I had the good fortune of seeing the Tara Donovan exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Her choice of materials and scale created a perfect rhythm for my afternoon. “Haze” was captivating and shouldn’t be missed. Get over there quick and see the show.
Organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, this is the first major museum survey of Tara Donovan’s work. The artist’s sculptural installations are based on the physical properties and capabilities of a single accumulated material. Donovan uses prosaic items including electrical cable, adding machine paper, straight pins, paper plates, and toothpicks. These materials are arranged in a manner that sometimes mimics the organization of geological or biological forms.
Through this subtle and remarkably affecting presentation, drinking straws may suggest clouds and plastic cups may call to mind a brittle winter landscape. Part of the intrigue of Donovan’s practice lies in the way she is able to present a mass of unaltered, simple objects that do not disguise what they are while simultaneously suggesting a range of richly poetic associations.