This year for my birthday, my fabulous boyfriend (who just so happens to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things contemporary art) took me on a tour of his favorite galleries in Chelsea. After what has felt like the longest, coldest, darkest, and snowiest winter on record, he knew I was in much need of a good dose of artistic (and crafting) inspiration to raise my spirits.
While on our little adventure, I was particularly inspired by a collection of works done by Brooklyn artist Tara Donovan, being shown at The Pace Gallery on West 25th Street. At first glance, these "drawings" seemed to be simple canvases covered with gradient fields of light and dark or simple circles done in white and gray. However, when I got a closer look, I was completely blown away. Each piece is a large square (up to 8 feet by 8 feet) of gatorboard (like foam board but covered on both sides with wood veneer) that has been painted white and then "drawn" on by meticulously pounding in what must be thousands and thousands of nickel-plated steel pins!
1 Drawings (Pins), 2010
2 Drawings (Pins), 2010 (detail)
3 Drawings (Pins), 2010 (detail)
4 Drawings (Pins), 2010 (detail)
5 Drawings (Pins), 2010
6 Drawings (Pins), 2010
7 Drawings (Pins), 2010 (detail)
8 Drawings (Pins), 2010
9 Drawings (Pins), 2010
10 Drawings (Pins), 2010
11 Drawings (Pins), 2010 (detail)
After being blown away by the show, I did a simple Google search of Ms. Donovan and was delighted to discover an entire body of similarly inspiring, spectacular work. I absolutely love the way she uses a single everyday material in each of her pieces (many being materials that I encounter every day in the TV craft room) to create sweeping and monumental works of true art. I also discovered (and completely understand why) she employs a virtual army of studio assistants (10-15) who help her meticulously create these incredibly detailed (and obviously time consuming) masterpieces. Check out the gallery below for a collection of photos of some of my favorites:
1 Colony, 2009
2 Colony, 2009 (detail) - Made from pencils!
3 Bluffs, 2009
4 Bluffs, 2009
5 Bluffs, 2009
6 Bluffs, 2009 (detail) - Made from buttons and glue!
7 Untitled (Plastic Cups), 2006
8 Untitled (Plastic Cups), 2006
9 Untitled (Plastic Cups), 2006 (detail)
10 Untitled (Plastic Cups), 2006 (detail)
11 Untitled (Plastic Cups), 2006 (detail)
12 Untitled (Pins), 2004
13 Untitled (Pins), 2004 (detail)
14 Untitled (Toothpicks), 2001
15 Untitled (Molecule), 2010
16 Untitled (Mylar), 2007
17 Untitled (Mylar), 2007 (detail)
18 Untitled (Mylar), 2007
19 Untitled (Mylar), 2007
20 Untitled (Mylar), 2007 (detail)
21 Untitled (Paper Plates), 2006
22 Untitled (Paper Plates), 2006 (detail)
23 Haze, 2003
24 Haze, 2003
25 Haze, 2003 (detail) - Made from stacked drinking straws!
26 Untitled, 2003
27 Untitled, 2003 (detail) - Made from styrofoam cups and hot glue!
28 Untitled, 2003
29 Untitled, 2003 (detail) - Made from fishing line!
I encourage you to check out Tara Donovan: Drawings (Pins) at The Pace Gallery (where it is on view until March 19) as well as her Untitled (Mylar) show that just opened there on March 4 (Ace Gallery in Los Angeles and Stephen Friedman Gallery in London are two other spaces that feature and represent her work). And the next time you find yourself in NYC, head over to the west 20s and check out the incredible work that is on display and completely free to public viewing. You wouldn't want to miss one of the best (and cheapest!) art experiences in the city.