Tara Donovan (b. 1969, New York) is an American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Tara Donovan is an inventive young sculptor whose installations bring wonder to the most common objects of everyday life. Donovan’s site-specific, sculptural works transform ordinary accumulated materials into intriguing visual and physical installations. Choosing a single object – such as a transparent drinking straw, scotch tape, a Styrofoam cup, or a paper clip – Donovan experiments with assembling it in different ways. Sensitive to the specific needs of her materials and the nature of her exhibit spaces, her installations are often arranged in ways reminiscent of geological or biological forms.
For her 2003 installation entitled “Haze,” Donovan stacked over two million clear plastic drinking straws against a 42-foot-long gallery wall. The resulting effect, with its shifts in color, form, light, and surface, was that of a fog bank or a diaphanous cloud, providing the viewer with a compelling, perceptually trans-formative experience. In a 2007 untitled work, Donovan created a 50×60-foot installation using over three million seven-ounce plastic drinking cups in rows of different heights, resembling a serene, iridescent ice field. This singular artist is creating a dazzling body of work that will enrich the fields of contemporary sculpture and installation art for years to come.
Her sculptures must be assembled and disassembled carefully, which sometimes involves an extremely tedious process. With regards to her artistic process, Donovan explained that she chooses the material before she decides what can be done with it. She noted in an interview that she thinks “in terms of infinity, of [the materials] expanding.” Donovan says of her work, “It is not like I’m trying to simulate nature. It’s more of a mimicking of the way of nature, the way things actually grow.”