Tara Donovan: Untitled Opens at Pace Pop-Up Gallery in California

  • MENLO PARK, California
  • /
  • May 26, 2014

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Tara Donovan "Bluffs," 2013. Buttons and glue.
Pace Gallery

Pace Gallery has opened the final exhibition at its California pop-up: Tara Donovan: Untitled. The show is on view until June 30, 2014, at the gallery's temporary space, 300 El Camino Real, in Menlo Park.

The exhibition surveys work by Tara Donovan from 2000 to present and features large-scale installations recently included in museum exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to Untitled, Pace Menlo Park, located in the former Tesla Headquarters, exhibits a wide variety of work by contemporary masters. A screening room featuring artists' films and a 1,000 volume art library is also available for use by visitors to the gallery.

For the last 20 years, Donovan has used simple, mass-produced materials and objects to explore the transformative effect of their accumulation and aggregation. The result has been a body of work that creates through perceptual phenomenon otherworldly environments, invented topographies and seemingly organic structures from inorganic materials.

Donovan has previously said about her work, “Certainly the scale of my work is always in relation to the human body. I also think about the experience of my work as being theatrical in a sense. The placement of the work in a space, how it is lit, and the amount of surrounding space are all very calculated. There is a sense I get of wanting to choreograph someone’s experience of my work. Because the surfaces of my work do often shift and follow the perspective of the viewer, there is a perceptual movement that coincides with a person’s physical movement within the gallery space.”

Untitled shows the range of Donovan’s single-material structures built from the repetitive application of mylar, acrylic, film, glass, buttons, toothpicks, pins, pencils and drinking straws. Donovan draws on Minimalism in her work creating radically new forms which embrace complexity and process. The earliest sculptures in this exhibition are Donovan’s 36 inch cubes, in which no adhesive is used to transform millions of pins, toothpicks and glass into new and unexpected geometric forms. Bluffs, (2013) is comprised of thousands of stacked buttons, which accumulate into a opalescent, pink stalagmite structure. In another series on view, clear plastic rods radiate from the center of spherical biomorphic forms that could be imagined to exist on a coral reef.

Donovan plays with perceptual phenomenon through light and scale, evoking the work of both James Turrell and Robert Irwin. On view are three “Pin Drawings,” that create an optical effect of shifting viewpoints through polished nickel-plated steel pins, protruding out from the visual plane at varying lengths. Untitled also includes a selection of Donovan’s seminal large-scale installations, environments that could seemingly extend into infinity. Covering an entire side of wall at Pace Menlo Park is Haze, (2003), comprised of several million translucent plastic drinking straws. Donovan’s towering Untitled (Mylar), (2011), is also on view, comprised of sheets of Mylar, molded into three-dimensional form to create sprawling cellular structures. Light plays a pivotal role in the work as it catches the metallic surfaces and radiates off its undulating form.

Concurrent with Pace Menlo Park’s Untitled is an exhibition featuring two new large-scale sculptures, currently on view at Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street in New York through June 28.


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