Adler Beatty is pleased to announce Stringing Sand on Thread, a presentation of works on paper, ceramics, and bronze sculpture by Michele Oka Doner.
Oka Doner has spent a lifetime experimenting with natural materials and forms. Her fascination with geology and oceanography began in childhood when she immersed herself in the topography and culture of 1950s Miami Beach. Scouring beaches and forests, she salvages then transforms all manner of detritus. Sculpting, dissecting, casting, welding, and drawing, Oka Doner creates mysterious works of art with poetic mastery.
In the mid-1960s, while many of her contemporaries embraced Minimalism or Pop, Oka Doner forged her own path, exploring the interconnectedness of ocean, earth and sky, often collapsing the categories of fine art and design. Working in both public and private spaces, her practice spans two and three-dimensional work, intimately scaled domestic objects and monumental design, including permanent installations in the transit hubs of Miami International Airport and New York City’s Herald Square subway.
Oka Doner’s ceramic “Soul Catchers” originate with the earth, made of clay, worked with the artist’s hand and crude tools before firing. The imprint of her fingers forms haunting expressions and contortions accentuated by rich maroon and chalky black patinas.
While Oka Doner considers clay her “universal language,” metal plays an important role in her practice: “It is primal, it is alchemy, transformation. You take ores from the earth and mix them to exactly the right strength. There’s the fluid beauty of the molten metal and fixed form; you are the sorcerer’s apprentice.” The presentation includes bronze casts of forms as delicate as the wings of a bee. Arthur C. Danto described Oka Doner’s work as imbued with a “menacing beauty” here conveyed through thin, bronze spiked branches, which threaten us as we reach for her small but “Terrible Chair.”
Oka Doner incorporates elements of chance when working with tree bark and paper pulp, sandwiching the former between translucent pieces of handmade abaca paper and releasing anthropomorphized forms from a tangle of roots, stems and mulch. The sheets of paper tightly embrace the bark forms buried between them.
This concentrated selection of work reflects Oka Doner’s profound encounters with, and transformations of, the human, animal, mineral and vegetal.
Albert Stadler, Ann Purcell, Balcomb Greene, Charlotte Park, Dan Christensen, Edward Avedisian, Eric Dever, Frank Wimberley, Gertrude Greene, James Walsh, Jill Nathanson, John Goodyear, John Opper, Jon Schueler, Joyce Weinstein, Judith Godwin, Ken Greenleaf, Larry Poons, Larry Zox, Mike Solomon, Paul Jenkins, Perle Fine, Raymond Hendler, Stanley Boxer, Stephen Pace, Susan Vecsey, Syd Solomon, Walter Darby Bannard, William Perehudoff, Yvonne Thomas
Berry Campbell Gallery, New York
07/09/18 - 08/17/18