Dieu Donné is pleased to present an exhibition featuring work in handmade paper by Michele Oka Doner, opening March 17 and on view through April 23, 2011.
Michele Oka Doner is captivated by the natural world, which forms an integral part of her visual vocabulary. Throughout her inspiring oeuvre, the artist has explored a wide variety of media and practices, and is renowned for her public art installations, sculpture and functional objects. This exhibition is dedicated to her work in handmade paper, a process she first worked with in the late 1960’s and rediscovered in 2004 at the Dieu Donné studios and that she continues to this day.
The installation is comprised of a series of 15 40×60 inch handmade abaca works and unique artist’s books including an oversized 40×30 inch book, Neuration of Tantalus. All of these works incorporate organic palm material, often with tremendous texture and density, directly into the paper creating a highly charged relationship between the objects they are and the images they create. The specific plant forms Oka Doner chooses and the arrangements she achieves are suspended in an ethereal veil of sublimity within the abaca sheets; we sense Oka Doner’s transformative hand. These dramatic works express a devotion to nature’s detritus and a clear understanding of the distinct, almost hieroglyphic, form of language they represent. The artist uses these materials as a sculptor does, creating a series of unique works that capture the spirit and form of the natural world.
This exhibition celebrates the release of What is the White, a limited edition artist book that sensuously explores the nature of whiteness. The artist tells her story through a convergence of exquisite materials – translucent and opaque papers, sumptuous waxes and felts, original prose letterpressed in the artist’s hand – aptly described by the art historian Pari Stave as “an artic jewel box.” Forming an exquisite and meditative object, the book transports the viewer from the systematic theories of whiteness, color and perception to nature’s more spiritual rewards.
The artist is well known for her numerous public art installations, including A Walk on the Beach at The Miami International Airport and Healing Plants at the UMDNJ University Hospital Center in Newark. Her sculpture and functional objects have been acquired by many prestigious museums, among them The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Included in her many publications are three monographs: Natural Seduction (2003), Workbook (2004) and Michele Oka Doner: HumanNature (2008). Oka Doner is represented by Marlborough Gallery.