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Dona Nelson (Works)

Selected Works

Dona Nelson

Dona Nelson

Dona Nelson in the studio.

Dona Nelson moved to New York City in 1967 to participate in the Whitney Independent Study Program. She received her BFA from Ohio State University in 1968.

She has participated in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and in group shows at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of New South WalesRose Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum Houston and South Florida, Boston University Art Gallery, New York University 80WSE, CCS Bard, MIT List Visual Art Center, Apexart, Milwaukee Art Museum, P.S. 1, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and Guggenheim. Nelson has received many grants and awards including an Anonymous Was A Woman Grant in 2015, an Artist Legacy Foundation Award in 2013, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award in 2011, and a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1994.

Espace Tajan exhibited Nelson’s paintings in Paris in the fall of 2019, adding to a long list of widely reviewed solo shows at galleries such as Michael Benevento (Los Angeles), Cheim & Read, Michael Klein, and Rosa Esman (all New York); including a mid-career solo exhibition at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, which was accompanied by a full color catalogue. Her paintings have been included in group shows at Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Morán Morán, Los Angeles, Ceysson & Bénétière, Luxembourg, as well as Deitch Projects, Lisson Gallery, Robert Miller, Mary Boone, Canada Gallery and d’Amelio Terras (all New York). Nelson’s work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Rose Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Perez Art Museum, Kadist Foundation, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Albright-Knox and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia. Nelson’s work is currently part of Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond at the Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. Her work will also be included in 52 Womxm Artists: Revisiting a Feminist Milestone at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT, scheduled to open in June of 2022.

Exhibitions with Thomas Erben

Exhibitions with Thomas Erben

Other Exhibitions

Other Exhibitions

Stand Alone Paintings
 - Installation view, Tang Teaching Museum

Stand Alone Paintings

Dona Nelson

May 12 - August 12, 2018

Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, 2018.

Dona Nelson: Stand Alone Paintings presents artworks from the last four decades to demonstrate the breadth and continuity of Nelson’s influential painting career. Originally from Grand Island, Nebraska, Nelson received her B.F.A. from Ohio State University in 1968. While still an undergraduate at Ohio State, Nelson moved to New York City to participate in the newly-formed Whitney Independent Study Program in the fall of 1967. In the following decades, she played a prominent role in shaping the direction of abstract painting in New York, forging an independent vocabulary and style that melds painting with sculpture, representation with abstraction, and oils and acrylics with nontraditional materials such as cheesecloth and modeling paste. The exhibition brings together a group of Nelson’s gestural and large-scale canvases from both public and private collections to form a vibrant and immersive installation.

Nelson’s paintings have been featured in solo exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Cheim and Read, Michael Klein Gallery, Scott Hanson Gallery, and Hamilton Gallery. Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions presented at New York University; Whitney Museum of American Art; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; Nassau County Museum of Art; Mary Boone Gallery, and Marlborough Gallery. Nelson is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, where she has taught since 1991.

Dona Nelson: Stand Alone Paintings is organized by Dayton Director Ian Berry in collaboration with the artist and is supported by Friends of the Tang.

Painter Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970’s and now
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Painter Reply: Experimental Painting in the 1970’s and now

Dona Nelson

27 June - 9 August, 2019

Lisson Gallery

Curated by Alex Glauber & Alex Logsdail

Opening Reception: Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 6-8pm

In September of 1975, Artforum published a special issue on painting. In addition to articles such as “Painting and the Struggle for the Whole Self” and “Painting and Anti-Painting: A Family Quarrel”—in which Max Kozloff said “brush wielders were afflicted by a creative halitosis”—were the responses to a questionnaire polling 21 painters on the state and prospects of the medium. While the construct suggests an attempt to engage the question of painting’s future, the tone of both the preface and three questions is exceedingly stilted, rending it more of an obituary than rumination; an indictment of futility.

When Sol LeWitt declared in 1967 that the execution of the art object was now a “perfunctory affair”, it made Greenbergian formalism seem trivial and antiquated. As curator Katy Siegel noted in her 2006 exhibition “High Times Hard Times”, which explored unconventional painting from the late 1960s and early 1970s, a lack of a clear paradigm shift left the medium feeling listless. Terms such as “Lyrical Abstraction” and “New Informalism” failed to capture the breadth and dynamism of the medium, leaving many to simply condemn it. However, what if this lack of cohesion speaks more to a liberation of the medium as opposed to a symptom of struggle?

Painters Reply, curated by Alex Glauber and Alex Logsdail, aims to answer the Artforum questionnaire through an exploration of experimental painting practices starting in the 1970s and continuing to the present moment. The selected artists reveal how the pervasive antipathy towards painting perhaps afforded a greater degree of latitude whereby materiality, application, atypical support, performative impulse and format were all of a sudden in play. The exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists, including some of those published in Artforum’s responses to the questionnaire such as Joan Snyder and Dona Nelson, where the common denominator is aesthetic emancipation.

Following this survey of experimental painting from the 1970s, Painters Reply traces this vanguard spirit to the current moment. The selected artists advance painting by probing similar fault lines — aesthetic variables relating to materiality, execution and presentation. For instance, Jacqueline Humphries’ “Black Light Paintings” harness light to activate an otherwise static surface with similar objectives to Mary Corse who turned to glass microspheres in 1968 as a visual catalyst. Similarly, one can draw a through line between Joe Overstreet’s “Flight Pattern” series of the early 1970s and the current practice of Eric N. Mack. Overstreet’s unstretched canvases fluidly dissect space through a web of ropes which suspend his abstractions like sails anchored to the floor, walls, and ceiling surrounding them. “My paintings don’t let the onlooker glance over them, but rather take them deeply into them and let them out—many times by different routes.” This ethos resonates with Eric N. Mack whose painterly assemblages cloak spaces in works that collapse and fuse the histories of abstract painting and the aesthetics of fashion.

Artists include Polly Apfelbaum, Lynda Benglis, Sadie Benning, Roy Colmer, Matt Connors, Mary Corse, Lucy Dodd, Guy Goodwin, Ron Gorchov, Ralph Humphrey, Jacqueline Humphries, Al Loving, Israel Lund, Eric N. Mack, Dona Nelson, Joe Overstreet, Steven Parrino, Howardena Pindell, David Reed, Dorothea Rockburne, Ruth Root, Sean Scully, Joan Snyder, Ted Stamm, Stanley Whitney and Duane Zaloudek.

A Focus on Painting, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London
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A Focus on Painting, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London

Dona Nelson | Alvaro Barrington | Mandy El-Sayegh | Rachel Jones

Friday, September 11 - October, 2020

Selected Press

Selected Press

Pagel, David. In Dona Nelson’s magically messy paintings, the back is as revelatory as the front, The Los Angeles Times, October 10, 2019. PDF Art in Conversation - Dona Nelson with Leeza Meksin, The Brooklyn Rail, May 12, 2018. PDF Smith, Roberta. Dona Nelson, The New York Times, May 12, 2017. PDF Rodney, Seph. Collage Painting's with Presence, HYPERALLERGIC, April 14, 2017. PDF Smith, Roberta. Art in Review, Dona Nelson, Phigor. The New York Times, May 9, 2014. PDF Kreimer, Julian. Dona Nelson, Art in America, June/July, 2014. PDF Schwabsky, Barry. Dona Nelson, Artforum, Summer 2014. PDF Briggs, Rick. Go Figure: Dona Nelson's "Phigor", HYPERALLERGIC, May 3, 2014. PDF Smith, Roberta. Done Nelson : In Situ, The New York Times, May 23, 2008. PDF Cotter, Holland. Art in Review - Dona Nelson, The New York Times, September 22, 2006. PDF Moyer, Carrie. Dona Nelson: Brain Stain, The Brooklyn Rail, October 2006. PDF Maine, Stephen. Dona Nelson at Thomas Erben, Art in America, December 2006. PDF Adams, Brooks. Dona Nelson, Tactile Image, exhibition catalog, 2003. PDF Johnson, Ken. Art in review; Dona Nelson -- Tactile Image, The New York Times, January 21, 2003. PDF Mahoney, Robert. Dona Nelson, Stations of the Subway, Time Out, January 2001. PDF Smith, Roberta. Art in Review; Dona Nelson, The New York Times, February 2001. PDF Landi, Ann. New Yorker Reviews, April 2001. PDF Hirsch, Faye. Abstracting the Familiar, Art In America, Febuary 1997. PDF Whelan, Richard. Dona Nelson interview, BOMB magazine, winter 1994. PDF Liebmaan, Lisa. Dona Nelson's Time Pieces, Artforum, March 1989. PDF

Media

Boston University: Contemporary Perspectives lecture, Dona Nelson

Over the past three decades painter Dona Nelson has reflected an adventurously tough-minded approach to process and a vehement avoidance of anything conventionally ingratiating. Her work presents a solid challenge to the viewer, working often in primary colors and in reference to works by other abstract artists. 10/18/12

A Conversation with Artist – Dona Nelson and Jonathan Neil

Last week, Dona Nelson joined Jonathan Neil in Los Angeles for a wide-ranging interview—Dona thinks it’s one of her best.

Held October 3 at The Reef/LA Mart, the talk was organized by Sotheby’s Institute of Art in Los Angeles and Claremont Graduate University.

View the full talk: Sothebys Institute of Art

Dona’s show at the Tang opened last Friday to great fanfare.

To entice you to make the trip over to Saratoga Springs, NY, here’s a brief glimpse of this gorgeous exhibition.

On view: May 12 – August 12, 2018

tang.skidmore.edu

Dona Nelson – models stand close to the paintings

Installation views and comments.

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