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MICHELE OKA DONER F E AST I N G O N B A R K


photograph taken by Bruce Weber

cover page: Purana, 2015, cast bronze, 67 x 22 x 16 in., 170.2 x 55.9 x 40.6 cm opposite page: The Wounded Healer, 2013, organic material in abaca paper, 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in., 101.3 x 73.3 cm


MICHELE OKA DONER F E AST I N G O N B A R K C U R AT E D B Y TO D D L E V I N

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A Knit of Identity: On the Nature-Based Art of Michele Oka Doner Gregory Volk Michele Oka Doner’s eclectic artworks include large works on paper for which she fashioned recognizably human forms from what she terms “organic materials”— dried leaves, roots, bark, fronds, stems, stalks, mulch, and dirt, among others. She collects this material, a bit like a scientist or naturalist, on her various nature sojourns, especially in Florida where she grew up, and then brings it back to New York where she lives with it and lets it work into her psyche: these are art materials pure and simple, but also natural talismans, physical traces of cathartic, consciousness-altering experiences in nature. Corpus Origin (2014), one of these works, is especially forceful—even agitated and kinetic—but also meditative and entrancing. A looming, almost seven-foot-high rudimentary figure, colored brown and black and made of the actual roots of a banyan tree, which Oka Doner pressed into abaca paper, has a powerful, evocative, and enigmatic presence. It seems animated, hinting at an image of a live person, yet it could equally be a shrouded corpse or a mummy. Like many of Oka Doner’s works this one emanates special energies and it also seems mobile in time, a contemporary work that could be from ages and ages ago, or perhaps also from the very distant future. Coiled and impacted in parts, a dense mesh of curving bands, the figure is also empty and open in others; it simultaneously coheres and “smithereens apart,” to slightly paraphrase poet Hart Crane. There is something solemn about this work, devotional, maybe even sacred, but in a way one can’t pin down to a specific religion or belief system; certainly this, as well as many others of Oka Doner’s works, conjures a deity or totem, an object invested with magical powers and spiritual import, an animist reverence for nature. While the figure is dense and dark, small flecks at the edges, suggesting physical breakdown and, implicitly, the body’s eventual decomposition, are also festive and enchanting; they exude gaiety, an aerial exuberance. It takes some time to realize that Oka Doner’s elemental composition was not drawn or etched, but instead made, quite literally, from tree roots—in fact roots from a particular banyan tree in Miami Beach that enthralled her when she was a child and that she often returns to, still enthralled by its massive size, rough trunk, thick canopy of leaves and vines overheard, and especially its primal vitality. This large, enveloping tree was a site for play and a source of wonderment and psychological liberation for Oka Doner when she was a child in the early1950s at a time when America was hustling “en masse” from the natural to the artificial, from nature to commercial products, television, and conformity-minded home life. Years later, it still calls to her and provides her with inspiration and rejuvenation as well as with actual art materials. Immersive

experiences in nature, involving heightened consciousness, intuitive insights, and emotional upsweep, which she then channels into artworks, are at the core of Oka Doner’s approach as an artist, and that’s exactly what one senses with Corpus Origin. Over the past several years Oka Doner has made many excellent prints, many of them human figure/nature hybrids in which tree roots, touched up by ink, form the marks when sent through the printing press. She is, however, a questing artist who keeps propelling her inquiry, and that’s how she arrived at the decision to make a big print, not by utilizing roots as mark-making objects, or referencing them, but instead by incorporating them altogether: a print not of a tree, but instead a print that is a tree, at least in part. And this reveals Oka Doner’s special forte, developed in an expansive oeuvre that includes sculptures big and small, renowned public art projects, drawings, prints, books, ceramics, jewelry, and furniture (among others). She makes artworks that open to and embrace nature as both subject and material and that also decisively upend an anthropocentric worldview. Human figures in Oka Doner’s works—of which there are many—are never isolated from nature, but instead are inextricably part of it; indeed, they are often made of natural materials, in some measure, and they connect with cycles of growth and decay, creation and entropy. A tremendous example of this is Primal II (2014). Oka Doner configured a tangle of wild roots to resemble a human form, embossed this onto rice paper, then further altered and, in her terms, “interpreted” the form by pencil. The resulting image is downright sublime: a human form (made from roots and graphite) that is intact and enchanting, but also diaphanous and subject to dispersal. Animal and botanical forms also abound in Oka Doner’s work, among them large, semi-decaying bronze sculptures of insects crackling with palpable, perhaps magical, power: then, there is the fact that many of Oka Doner’s works involving hybrid humans (or human objects) and mediated nature scramble and conflate whole categories (animal/plant/human) and challenge distinctions between what is natural and man-made, old and new. Morning Staff (2015) recalls a supple plant that one can’t quite place. In fact, it’s a wholly invented plant-like sculpture made of cast bronze with a silver wash, and it melds several different components —Oka Doner calls this “a structural cacophony”— including botanical materials found in a Munich forest. The Russet Orifice (2015), a circular chain of tiny linked parts, suggests ancient jewelry, perhaps a necklace a few thousand years old that one might see in a museum vitrine. In fact, it’s a bronze cast of

opposite page detail: Primal II, 2014, graphite with embossing on rice paper, 99 5/8 x 53 x 2 in., 253 x 134.6 x 5 cm


fossilized tubeworms many millions of years old. To really engage with Oka Doner’s protean art is to open oneself to surprises, bewilderment, vastness, transportation, and exhilaration as materials unexpectedly combine and morph into strange new conditions, and strange new possibilities assemble. Always, her artworks seem uncommonly imbued with growth and transformation as a fundamental, driving impetus, and in this sense Oka Doner is very close to Walt Whitman in the first, 1855 version of the great poem that would later be titled “Song of Myself ”: Urge and urge and urge, Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimmess opposite equals advance….Always substance and increase, Always a knit of identity….always distinction….always a breed of life.

Along with Whitman Oka Doner celebrates “substance and increase” and explores “a knit of identity” connecting us with nature, world, cosmos and sheer matter as well as with one another. There are other tawny figures among Oka Doner’s works, also made of organic materials pressed into paper, and while they constitute a series, each is unique with its special characteristics, even its own moods and layered psychological states; seen together, they are like a quiet, evocative pageant or perhaps a gorgeous dance. Because they are pressed into the yielding paper, partially withdrawing into it, all of these figures occur on a cusp between presence and absence, and while vivid, they also seem half-disappearing, partly apparitional, as if one is seeing them through mist, or fog, or in one’s mind’s eye a couple of seconds or so after having awakened from a dream, in a dream altogether, or maybe on the walls of a cave. Each figure (they are not gender specific; what Oka Doner is angling for are basic human forms) is austere, yet also sensuous and lush, and the materials very much suggest our flesh. Tilted Head (2014) seems magical or supernatural, a human form with wing-like arms, a hybrid creature. Ancestor (2013), a seated, thoughtful figure, conjures a contemplative ancestor from way, way back, not just centuries ago but millions of years ago at our hominid origins. The Wounded Healer (2013), a hooded shape with long, tapering legs, is hybrid to the extreme: part human, insect, animal, plant and vaporous spirit. It is also touching and utterly lovely. From works like these one moves to the sculpture Hominin Relic (2015) (“hominin” according to Merriam-Webster encompasses “recent humans”—namely us—“together with extinct and ancestral related forms”) that reveals another aspect of Oka Doner. This sculpture is rough, rugged, ungainly, and exceedingly raw while it again scrambles distinctions between natural and 4

manmade objects. A hefty chunk of wood found in the Everglades is elaborately sculptural (sculpted not by the artist but by “time and the elements” as Hart Crane put, it, in his poem “Voyages”) while Oka Doner’s invented sculptural component, on top, made of wax seeded with organic materials and occasionally inscribed with pencil, is distinctly natural, biological and geologic, evoking coral, an ocean rock shaped and eroded by water over millennia, fossils, bone, seashells, even a brain. Suspended on a chain with a hook beneath a wooden scaffold, this nature/culture amalgamation has an immediate, visceral, confrontational power. It’s a force to be reckoned with, and as much as it was exactingly made, it also looks unearthed, wrenched out of the earth by geologists or archeologists. As evidenced here, Oka Doner’s reverence for nature isn’t sweet or sentimental. Her works admit powerful and unruly forces: erosion, pulverization, granulation, rampant fecundity, decay. One recognizes such forces in Oka Doner’s upright, headless figures which are riveting, but also unsettling and imposing. Mana (2015) was fashioned from roots and vines—raw nature molded into a human form—before being cast in bronze. It mixes construction and destruction, vitality and decrepitude. Totem (2007 - 2015), made of wax, stainless steel, and organic materials, looks at once luminous and burnt. The Terracotta Hestia (2010) seems to provide X-ray access to the body’s circulatory system, which is actually formed from inlaid roots. This sculpture is a marvelous conflation of inside and outside, body and nature, while the roots also suggest branching rivers. Oka Doner’s career-long focus on ushering nature into art, while exploring a rich convergence between the human and the natural world, and doing so in a way that’s frankly cathartic and spiritually-charged, has long made her a decidedly against the grain figure in an art world that hardly prizes (and frequently ignores) all of these. Often—far too often in my opinion—in art world terms, nature seems a relic from bygone times, an emotional holdover from 19th-century romantic painting or folk art, something embarrassingly sentimental or, even worse, woozily spiritual, especially if explored by a woman. Serious matters are, more or less, strictly human. This is, of course, prideful and ridiculous and also, quite possibly, distressingly male. Even taking into account our ancient hominid origins, we’re recent additions to a planet and its nature that is some 4.5 billion years old, and in this era of global warming, maintaining the fiction that we are somehow above or masters of nature imperils us. Also, as Oka Doner astutely pointed out to me during a studio visit where I was surrounded and amazed by sculptures that resemble plants, plants that resemble sculptures, rock shards that look human, bronze or wax forms that look to be growing, fossils that look magical, and bodies that look vegetal, trying to get a toehold in a male-dominated art world that demeaned work such as hers based on a profound and communicative involvement with nature was an ordeal, yet in another era she very likely would have been burned at the stake.


If the refreshingly idiosyncratic, nature-oriented Oka Doner is at odds with art trends and developments over the past several decades, she very much connects with two important, nature-based strains in American art and thought leading back to the 18th and 19th centuries. One is naturalism. Entirely on her own terms and for her own purposes, Oka Doner is like an endlessly curious explorer paying careful attention and collecting a trove of flora and fauna on her far-flung trips, along the lines of the visionary naturalist William Bartram, who left a settled life in Philadelphia to explore what is now the southeastern United States (including Florida) from 1773 to 1777, and whose 1791 book Travels of William Bartram is now a classic. Oka Doner’s large SoHo studio, similar to Bartram’s home in Philadelphia, is filled with an array of nature specimens and substances culled from her various travels. Absorbed with nature, and transmuting that nature into art, Oka Doner also connects with 19th-century Hudson River School romantic painters and luminist painters such as Fitz Henry Lane and Martin Johnson Heade who, by the way, frequented the beaches, tidal marshes, and coastal areas of Massachusetts, Oka Doner frequents Florida beaches for her inspiration, and in her spectacular one and a quarter mile long walkway at the Miami International Airport featuring cast bronze sea creatures and vegetation embedded into a dark gray terrazzo floor (A Walk on the Beach, 1995-1999) she brought a sprawling assortment of marine life into her work. Oka Doner also connects with writers such as Henry David Thoreau (Walden, but also his many nature excursions), Walt Whitman (who seemed to notice and cherish everything living and growing in America, including “conical furs,” “citrons,” “cucumbers with silver-wired leaves” and “the alligator in his tough pimples”) and Emily Dickinson, who described an ecstatic outdoor experience like this:

Inebriate of Air – am I And Debauchee of Dew

Even more important for Oka Doner, however, is transcendentalist poet/philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose 1836 essay “Nature” was pure nutrition for the romantic landscape painters of his era as well as for many writers, most notably, of course, Thoreau and Whitman. As he shifted from religion to nature and art for his spiritual inquiry, Emerson advocated an extraordinary, at times ecstatic, openness to nature—understood to be suffused with divinity—which could then fuel a questing, spiritually lively art, whatever form that art ultimately took. In “Nature”, Emerson wrote of “an occult relation between man and the vegetable,” a felt, non-rational connection between humans and nature. Many years later, and without asserting in the least that Michele Oka Doner is some sort of latter day transcendentalist, such an “occult relationship” seems central to her work, in her case with “the vegetable” but also with seashells, rocks, water, caves, pollen, bees, spiders, stars, sea creatures, oceans and many others.

Michele Oka Doner’s works include From the Mysterium (2015), which contain several spheres made of blown and hand-etched glass. One is dealing with transparent things, with conduits, not barriers. These spheres evoke very small things like pollen and seeds and also large and distant things like planets and moons. They conjure a flowing exchange between artworks and nature, consciousness and cosmos. Emerson advocated exactly such an exchange, ecstatic moments outdoors when one becomes “a transparent eyeball,” as he famously put it in “Nature”: the world flowing into him, and he into the world. It seems to me that there is a wonderful “transparent eyeball’ quality in Michele Oka Doner’s glass spheres as well as in many other of her works: adventurous artworks born of an exchange between self and world, present and deep past, mind and nature. Michele Oka Doner is well-versed in botany and entomology (she knows a lot about plants and a great deal about bees) but also in poetry, which she can recite feelingly, at length, and from memory. With that in mind, I’ll close with an excerpt from Whitman, which both anticipates and illuminates Oka Doner’s wide-ranging vision: I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, and esculent roots, And am stucco’d with quadrupeds and birds all over...


Primal II, 2014, graphite with embossing on rice paper, 99 5/8 x 53 x 2 in., 253 x 134.6 x 5 cm 6


Corpus Origin, 2014, organic material in abaca paper, 83 x 44 1/4 x 2 3/16in., 210.8 x 112.4 x 5.6 cm 7


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Mana, 2015, cast bronze, 70 x 30 x 21 in., 177.8 x 76.2 x 53.3 cm 9


One Eye, 2015, burned wood and DOME wax,PIECE, steel base, 2013,17COLLAGE 3/4 x 6 1/2 INxCUSTOMIZED 1 7/8 in., 45 x 16.5 ANTIQUE x 4.8 cm FRAME, 23 1/2 x 23 1/2 x 5 IN., 59.7 x 59.7 x 12.7 CM 10


Hominin, Burnt, 2015, burned wood and wax, steel base, 44 x 14 1/2 x 4 3/8 in., 111.8 x 36.8 x 11.1 cm 11


Hestia, 2010, terracotta, 52 3/8 x 19 1/8 x 11 1/2 in., 133 x 48.6 x 29.2 cm Nonnus, 2010, porcelain, 29 1/2/ x 8 x 5 1/2 in., 74.9 x 20.3 x 14 cm Strabo, 2010, terracotta, 26 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 6 in., 67.3 x 24.1 x 15.2 cm Distraught Goddess and Her Prophesy, 2010, terracotta, 54 x 16 x 9 1/2 in., 137.2 x 40.6 x 24.1 cm 12


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Totem, 2007 - 2015, wax, organic material, stainless steel, 100 1/2 x 33 x 30 in., 255.3 x 83.8 x 76.2 cm 14


Gaia, 2010, earthenware, 24 x 15 x 11 in., 61 x 38.1 x 27.9 cm 15


Ur, 2010, terracotta, 24 x 17 x 10 in., 61 x 43.2 x 25.4 cm 16


Telchine, 2010, terracotta, 29 x 15 x 11 in., 73.7 x 38.1 x 27.9 cm 17


Mask, 2014, organic material in abaca paper, 44 x 34 x 1 11/16 in., 111.8 x 86.4 x 4.3 cm (framed) 18


Fear, 2014, organic material in abaca paper, 44 x 34 x 1 11/16 in., 111.8 x 86.4 x 4.3 cm (framed) 19


Bee Shaman, 2013, organic material in abaca paper, 28 5/8 x 24 3/8 in., 72.7 x 61.9 cm (framed) 20


Premonition, 2013, organic material in abaca paper, 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in., 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed) 21


The Rise of Plants, Apis 1-9 and Queen, 2014, cast bronze 7 5/8(ALEX x 10 1/2 x 5 3/4 -2014, 14 x 18 x 9 in., 19.4 26.7 x 14.6 - 35.6 x 45.7 FRAME, x 22.9 cm LSS MUGLER), COLLAGE IN xCUSTOMIZED ANTIQUE XX x XX IN., XX x XX CM 22


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Hominin Relic IV, 2015, wax and organic material, 19 1/2 x 28 1/2 x 21 1/2 in., 49.5 x 72.4 x 54.6 cm


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DI SOTTOpage: opposite IN SĂ™,Hominin 2014, COLLAGE, Relic, 2015, XX wax, x XX organic IN., XXmaterial, x XX CMwood, and steel, 114 1/2 x 96 x 60 in., 290 x 243.8 x 152.4 cm


BALLROOM FLOOR, 2014, COLLAGE, XX x XX IN., XX x XX CM 27


Hominin Relic II, 2014, cast bronze, 6 3/8 x 45 x 9 3/4 in., 16.2 x 114.3 x 24.8 cm


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“HEYofPAPI”, End Feast,2014, 2014,COLLAGE cast bronze, IN CUSTOMIZED 4 1/2 x 31 x 28ANTIQUE 1/2 in., 11.4FRAME, x 78.7 x XX 72.4 x cm XX IN., XX x XX CM 30


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SAINTS From theAND Mysterium, CENTERS 2015, 3, 2014, blownCOLLAGE, and hand XX etched x XXglass, IN., XX 4 -x9XX in.,CM 10.2 - 22.9 cm 32


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Detail from Feasting On Bark, Marlborough Gallery, 2015 34


Detail from Feasting On Bark, Marlborough Gallery, 2015 35


Detail from Feasting On Bark, Marlborough Gallery, 2015 36


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Ancestor, 2013 organic material in abaca paper 44 3/8 x 34 3/8 in. 112.7 x 87.3 cm (framed)

On Fire II, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Claw, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Primal Kouroi, 2013 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Early One II, 2013 organic material in abaca paper 43 7/8 x 33 7/8 in. 111.4 x 86 cm (framed)

Reflections in Water II, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

On Fire I, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Trust, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)


Shadow I, 2013 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Reflection, 2013 organic material in abaca paper 40 5/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.6 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Tilted Head, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 40 x 28 7/8 in. 101.6 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Hominin Relic III, 2015 wax and organic material 12 x 20 x 16 1/4 in. 30.5 x 50.8 x 41.3 cm

Towards the Mysterium, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Hominin Relic V, 2015 wax and organic material 28 1/2 x 25 x 20 in. 72.4 x 63.5 x 50.8 cm

Wind, 2014 organic material in abaca paper 39 7/8 x 28 7/8 in. 101.3 x 73.3 cm (framed)

Poetry Cart with 22 Books 2014-2015 cast bronze cart, mixed media books Cart: 14 x 23 x 8 1/2 in. 35.6 x 58.4 x 21.6 cm Books: various dimension

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Mysterium, 2015 cast glass 7 1/2 x 11 x 7 in. 19.1 x 27.9 x 17.8 cm

Puranic Relic I, 2014 lead cover, mixed media pages 20 1/4 x 16 x 3/8 in. 51.4 x 40.6 x 0.95 cm

Apis Future, 2015 cast bronze 23 x 16 x 14 in. 58.4 x 40.6 x 35.6 cm (including base)

Burnt Relic, 2014 wood and fabric cover, mixed media pages 12 x 12 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. 30.5 x 31.1 x 3.2 cm

Vanishing Points, 2014 ink, graphite and charcoal in artist’s bronze frame 19 1/2x 19 1/4 in. 49.5 x 48.9 cm (framed)

Interior Life, 2014 cast bronze 58 x 14 x 8 1/2 in. 401.3 x 35.6 x 21.6 cm

Rhea, 2010 earthenware 23 1/2 x 15 x 10 in. 59.7 x 38.1 x 25.4 cm

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MICHELE OKA DONER 1966 1968 1969

Bachelor of Science & Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan Master of Fine Arts, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan Teaching Fellowship, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan Post-graduate work at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

The artist lives and works in New York, New York.

AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES 1967 1968 1969 1985 1987 1989 1990 1991 1994 1996 2003 2004 2006 2007 2011

The Malbin Prize, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan Second Biennial Michigan Craftsmen Council Award, Bloomfield Art Association, Michigan Standard Ceramic Company Award, Invitational Exhibition, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan Michigan Potter’s Association Prize, 21st Exhibition for Michigan Artists, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan Grant for research, The Samuel Rubin Foundation, Celestial Plaza, Hayden Planetarium, New York, New York Mid-Career Grant, New York State Council for the Arts, Celestial Plaza, New York, New York Visiting Artist, American Academy, Rome, Italy Grant, Helena Rubenstein Foundation, Celestial Plaza, New York, New York Grant, The Reed Foundation, Celestial Plaza, New York, New York The L.J. Skaggs and Mary Skaggs Foundation Grant, Venice Accretion Project, Oakland, California The Samuel H. Kress Foundation Grant, The Venice Accretion Project, New York, New York Certificate of Excellence, Art in Architecture (AIA) National Convention, Celestial Plaza, New York, New York Concrete Industry Board Award, Celestial Plaza, New York, New York Alumna-In-Residence, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation Grant, Celestial Plaza, New York, New York Distinguished Alumnus Award, School of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan Honor Award, National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association for Miami International Airport, Concourse A, Miami, Florida Zeitgeist Award, Design Triennial, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum/New York Times, New York, New York Award of Excellence for 2004, Board of the United Nations Society of Writers & Artists, New York, New York Legends Award, Pratt Institute, New York, New York Stars of Design Award, New York, New York Honorary Doctorate Degree in Fine Arts, The New York School of Interior Design, New York, New York

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2016 2014 2012 2011 42

How I Caught A Swallow in Mid-Air, Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami Florida (forthcoming) The Shaman’s Hut, Christies, New York, New York Michele Oka Doner: Earth Fire Air Water, Art Association of Jackson Hole, Jackson Hole, Wyoming Michele Oka Doner: Neuration of the Genus, Dieu Donné, New York, New York Michele Oka Doner: Exhaling Gnosis, Miami Print Shop, Miami, Florida (through 2012)

2010 2008

Spirit and Form: Michele Oka Doner and the Natural World, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States. Down to Earth, Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Germany Michele Oka Doner: HumanNature Bronze, Clay, Porcelain, and Works on Paper, Marlborough Chelsea, New York, New York (through 2009)

2004 2003 2001 2000 1998 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987 1984 1978 1975 1971 1968

Four Decades, Four Media, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York (through 2005) Fleeting Moments, MIA Gallery, Miami, Florida The Palm Collection, Christofle, Paris, France New Sculpture, Marlborough Chelsea, New York, New York ELP Studio, Rome, Italy Paper/Papers, Willoughby Sharp Gallery, New York, New York A Fuoco, Studio Stefania Miscetti, Rome, Italy Ceremonial Silver, Primavera Gallery, New York, New York Michele Oka Doner Sculpture, Feigenson/Preston Gallery, Detroit, Michigan Full Circle: Works in Bronze, Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami, Florida Art et Industrie, New York, New York The Pewabic Society, Detroit, Michigan Michele Oka Doner: Works in Bronze, Alice Simsar Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan Retrospective, Meadow Brook Art Gallery, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan Art et Industrie, New York, New York Burning Branches, Furniture of the Twentieth Century, New York, New York Figures & Fantasy, Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami, Florida Sculpture, Diane Brown Gallery, New York, New York Protista, Forecast Gallery, Peekskill, New York On Broken Form, Germans van Eck Gallery, New York, New York Works in Progress: Michele Oka Doner, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan Burial Pieces, Gallery Seven, Detroit, Michigan Ceramic Sculpture, Gertrude Kasle Gallery, Detroit, Michigan Forsythe Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan

PUBLIC COMMISIONS 2016 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miami City Ballet (sets and costumes), Miami, Florida (forthcoming) 2013 Micco Pavilion, Citra Benches, City of Doral, Florida 2011 Ancient Arb, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan Sargassum, Miami Intermodel Center, Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida, commissioned by Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, Art in Public Places 2010 A Walk on the Beach: From Seashore to Tropical Garden, (2001-2010), Miami International Airport, Concourses B, C and D, commissioned by Miami-Dade Art in Public Places, Miami, Florida 2009 Healing Plants, UMDNJ Cancer Center, Newark, New Jersey Forces of Nature: Trade Winds and Ocean Currents, Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, commissioned by Broward County Cultural Division 13 Monoprints, Collection The Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York Waterfall Chandeliers, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, New York


2008 Beneath the Leafy Crown, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2007 Oasis, Temple Beth Am, Coral Gables, Florida 2006 Epiphytes: Absorbing from Nature, Lobby Floor, Crosley Campus Center, University of South Florida, Sarasota, Florida 2005 Protoplants, Ocean County Library, Toms River, New Jersey Queen Bee, Canopy, Façade, Scrims, Door Pulls, Joyce Boutique, Hong Kong 2004 Life Forms, Life Sciences Building, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey Dynamo Café, Wolfsonian FIU, Miami, Florida 2003 Wave and Gate, Dan M. Russell Jr. United States Courthouse, Gulfport, Mississippi, GSA Art in Architecture commission River of Quintessence, United States Courthouse, Laredo, Texas, GSA Art in Architecture commission 2001 Poplar and Iris: Garden of Justice, United States Courthouse, Greenville, Tennessee, GSA Art in Architecture commission 1999 Biblical Species, Center For Jewish History, New York, New York Goober, Bazzini Nut Company, New York, New York Ebb and Flow, Newark Penn Station, Newark, New Jersey 1998 A Dialogue of Rings, Athenaeum, Florida International University, Miami, Florida Phase II, Concourse A, Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida 1997 Medallion: Flight, Washington National Airport, Arlington, Virginia 1996 Positron, Arthur Rich Memorial, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1995 A Walk on the Beach, Concourse A (Phase I) Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida, commissioned by Miami Dade Department of Cultural Affairs Monumental Hearth, Hillcrest Community Center, Kansas City, Missouri Lexicon: Justice, Criminal Justice Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, GSA Art in Architecture commission Geologic Time, Dane County Expo Center, Madison, Wisconsin 1994 City of Trees, Evanston Public Library, Evanston, Illinois Fallen Leaves, Feldpausch, Zurich, Switzerland 1992 Two Obelisks, Accreted Coral and Steel, City of Santa Monica, California Winged Figure, Distance Markers for Bayshore Blvd., Tampa, Florida 1991 Codex Sacramento, Sacramento Central Library, Sacramento, California 1990 Radiant Site, Herald Square Subway Complex, commissioned by MTA New York Arts for Transit, New York, New York Science Benches, Ingalls Mall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1989 Radiant Sidewalk, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, New York, New York Venice Accretion Project, Venice, Italy (completion 1991) 1988 Bronze Memorial, Woodstock Artist’s Cemetery, Woodstock, New York 1987 Celestial Plaza, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York 1986 Two Garden Seats, Bouverie Audubon Preserve, Glen Ellen, California 1980 Fallen Leaf, Franklin Historic Cemetery, Franklin, Michigan

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Florida Bouverie Audubon Preserve, Glen Ellen, California Centre Pompidou Library, Paris, France Children’s Museum of Manhattan, New York, New York City of Santa Monica, California Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York, New York Franklin Historic Cemetery, Franklin, Michigan Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey InterAmericas/Society of Arts and Letters of the Americas, New York, New York John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin Les Arts Décoratifs, The Louvre, Paris, France Meadow Brook Gallery, Rochester, Michigan Metropolitan Transit Authority, Herald Square Station, New York, New York Michigan Botanical Gardens, Grand Rapids, Michigan Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal, Canada Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York Museum of Modern Art Library, New York, New York New York Public Library Rare Book Room, New York, New York Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactury, Munich Germany under the patronage of HRH Duke Franz of Bavaria Perez Art Museum, Miami, Florida Port Everglades Terminal, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey Rockefeller University Hospital, New York, New York Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, New York Simone Handbag Museum, Seoul, South Korea Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan The Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Cancer Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York The John and Mable Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York The Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach, Florida Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia Wayne State University Art Collection, Detroit, Michigan Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York Wolfsonian, Genova, Italy Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

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//

Important Works available by: Twentieth-Century European Masters; Post-War American Artists D E S I G N / Dustin Tylek P H O T O G R A P H Y / Nick Merrick: cover, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9,10, 11, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, back cover / Bill Orcutt: 21, 22, 28 / Doner Studio: 1, 20, 21 / Nymphenburg: 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 E D I T I O N O F 1 2 0 0 P R I N T E D I N N E W YO R K B Y P R O J E C T

© 2015 Marlborough Gallery, Inc. ISBN 978-0-89797-482-0

opposite page: Morning Staff, 2015, cast bronze and silver wash, 65 1/2 x 14 x 13 in., 166.4 x 35.6 x 33 cm


M I C H E L E O KA D O N E R FEASTING ON BARK A P R I L 1 6 - M AY 1 6 , 2 0 1 5

4 0 W E S T 57 T H S T R E E T | N E W YO R K 1 0 0 1 9 | 2 1 2 - 5 4 1 - 4 9 0 0 | M A R L B O R O U G H G A L L E R Y.C O M

Michele Oka Doner: Feasting On Bark  
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