2019 Artist Residency: Michele Oka Doner
ARTIST RESIDENCY - MICHELE OKA DONER
The Artist Residency program was initiated in 2014 to foster creative responses to Manitoga that invoke Russel Wright's legacy of creative experimentation and celebration of place.
Close Your Physical Eye by Michele Oka Doner
Manitoga announces year six of our Artist Residency Program with Close Your Physical Eye by acclaimed artist Michele Oka Doner, a site-specific installation of sculpture and large-scale monoprints.
On view with Tour Participation May 10 - November 11, 2019 and during special programs and events. Purchase Tickets at BrownPaperTickets.com
The primal, elemental force of Fire and its diminished role in contemporary society have long held Michele Oka Doner’s artistic attention, and she continues her quest at Manitoga. An ancient trunk she foraged from Manitoga’s woodlands will transform through fire into a darkened bronze Burning Star with sixteen points of candle light. Burning Star will occupy the massive hearth of Dragon Rock’s living room – “I have made the room like a cave,” explained Wright. “The fireplace is literally the burning heart of the house.” With cave and fire come art and ritual. Says Oka Doner, “The ritual of daily life is important. I made ceremony of lighting fire in the hearth, serving a meal.” At Manitoga, Wright likewise found dignity and poetry in daily rituals from gathering with family and friends around the table and near the fire to long walks in the woodland forest where he communed with the “eternal forces of nature.”
On an autumnal woodland walk, Oka Doner gathered from Manitoga’s forest floor the bark of once mighty hemlock trees – felled by years of blight. From these remains have emerged her gods and goddesses – bark becomes skin, expressively alive in six larger-than-life textured monoprints on handmade paper, also derived from bark. Oka Doner’s powerful, soulful figures alternate between poised balance and graceful motion. Poetically named Alive, Sovereign, Scion, Duress, Arrival, and Begotten, these forest ancestors encircle the viewer in the west gallery. Manitoga’s Executive Director Allison Cross asks “Are they sentinels protecting Manitoga, our place of great spirit, or seers portending an uncertain future?” Given Oka Doner’s great belief in humanity and its steady march toward enlightenment, their message seems one of hope.
A Member Opening Celebration is scheduled for Saturday June 8, 5 - 7pm.
Michele Oka Doner is an internationally renowned American artist and author whose work is fueled by a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world, from which she derives her formal vocabulary. Her artistic production encompasses sculpture, prints, found objects, drawings, poetry and language, functional objects, books, costumes, sets, video and other media. She has created over 40 public and private permanent art installations, including "A Walk on the Beach," composed of more than 9,000 bronzes embedded in terrazzo with mother-of-pearl on the concourse of Miami International Airport. At one and one quarter linear miles, it is one of the largest artworks in the world. Other recent exhibitions include "SoulCatchers," approximately 400 shamanistic sculptures in the kiln room at the Nymphenburg Porcelain manufactory, Munich Germany; "How I Caught A Swallow in Mid-Air," at the Perez Art Museum Miami; and "Feasting on Bark," Marlborough Gallery, New York. Oka Doner’s work is found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Musée des Arts Décoratifs (the Louvre), the Victoria & Albert, University of Michigan, Yale and Harvard University museums, and The Detroit Institute of Arts, among others. She was recently named the 2019 Artist-In-Residence at the New York Botanical Garden.
Photos: Woodland trunk to be bronzed at Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry; Oka Doner at Wildwood Press, St. Louis, MO, January 2019; Mono-prints at Wildwood Press