Tara Donovan (MFA ’99) just wrapped up her latest solo exhibition Fieldwork at Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Her massive “uncanny” artwork gave Hyperallergic writer Kealey Boyd the chills. Donovan’s imposing “theatrical” sculptures, says Boyd, echo the lasting impact of consumer waste and art production.
Her sculptures translate our actions into aesthetic gestures. “Transplanted” (2001/2018) made from tar paper, a roofing material, pushes visitors to the edge of the room, forcing one to yield space to the authority of the object. “Untitled” made from Mylar and tape (2012/2018) distorts light, making the wall appear to bubble. Her famous 2003 “Haze” was recreated for the museum with thousands of plastic straws, altering the sound of the gallery by eating up the echoes typical of a concrete room. While we are familiar with her materials, they become unfamiliar once they are smeared together.