Tara Donovan’s Piles of Cups, Straws

February 27, 2009

Haze by Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan has piles of cups, loops of tape, and a front of straws installed at Cincinnati’s CAC, all worth a look and thought.  In 2006 I saw two of these works at St. Louis’ unbelievably fine art museum, but prefer their Cincinnati versions.  Before, Haze stood in an obscure nook by the staircase; now it’s a giant wall, threatening to engulf you.

Donovan’s works could have some irony, social comment, or riff on Minimalism, but mostly I see the play of light. Compared to Sarah Sze, they’re pure spectacle.  Haze and Untitled (Plastic Cups) ’06/’09 use their mass-produced sources as Ben-day dots.  Untitled‘s stacked hills of cups go from reflective white to translucent swells of warm beige. Haze rewards quick passes and minute shifts with shimmering.

Her newer works in scotch tape and aluminum bands recall photographs of molecules.  Though she doesn’t claim to imitate natural forms, she ends up in much the same place through geometry.  Tape forms molecules form cells.  They stop short of becoming autonomous creatures.  Give it time.

Best of all, Moiré‘s huge roles of adding machine paper look like slabs of ham.

One book of her work is out, with an essay by the great Lawrence Weschler.  I haven’t read it, so drop me a line and let me know how good it is.

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