Tara Donavan is a New York-based artist known for sculptures created from common objects such as toothpicks, buttons, or drinking straws that she transforms into large-scale installations that resemble natural landscapes or cellular forms. In her 2002 piece Nebulous, for example, Donovan created a fog-like mass that appears to hover above the gallery floor out of 100 rolls of Scotch Tape, Magic, and Invisible tape. Each of her pieces, such as Untitled (Plastic Cups) from 2006 that displays rippling forms suggesting mountains or waves, are meticulously constructed and then carefully disassembled so they can be remade again. Using a minimal aesthetic, Donovan’s materials appear to grow or expand, mimicking natural forms, while drawing attention to the unusual qualities of mass-produced objects and their presence in our daily lives.
Donovan has received many awards for her work including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award (2008) and the inaugural 2005 Calder Foundation Prize, among others. She participated in the 2000 Whitney Biennial and has had numerous solo exhibitions including shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2003), Rice University Art Gallery, Houston (2003), the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2004), the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2004), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2007).