When sculptor Tara Donovan was awarded a MacArthur “Genius Grant” just a couple of weeks ago, she became the third Virginia Commonwealth University grad to receive the prestigious award in 5 years. Go Rams! Donovan has made a name for herself by transforming everyday, man-made materials into natural entities. Her secret weapon: repetition. In her hands, straws become glaciers, toothpicks become haystacks, tape turns into bubbles. This spring she had an installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she turned Mylar tape into round bubbles, climbing the walls like an infestation.
Donovan received an MFA in sculpture in ’99 from VCU. Since then, the program has been ranked no. 1 by U.S. News. Donovan follows in the footsteps of fellow VCU alumni Teresita Fernandez and Daisy Youngblood, who received MacArthur Fellowships in 2005 and 2003, respectively, both sculptors. Fernandez received her M.F.A. from VCU in 1992, and Youngblood studied at VCU in the 1960s. The first major survey of Donovan’s work opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston this month. Locally, gallery director Bev Reynolds, was the first to notice and show her work at Reynolds Gallery. Below is a detail of Untitled, 2006, a work made of paper plates and glue.
See my short review of “Tara Donovan at The Met “in Richmond Magazine.
For more on VCU’s sculpture program, read “Inside the Studio,” a cover story I wrote for Style Weekly.
W magazine’s September feature on Tara and the home she built in Brooklyn.
The New York Times Sept. 23, Arts section story on Tara: “The Genius of Little Things.”