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From Classic Childhood Toy To Mesmerizing Exhibit: Artist Tara Donovan Transforms The Slinky For New Show

Nicholas Conzelman

Tara Donovan at the Parrish Art Museum's Midsummer Party, standing in front of one of her sculptures. (Photo: Joe Schildhorn /BFA.com)

If you're looking for something to do on the next rainy or intensely hot day, check out the Tara Donovan exhibit at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill and bring the kids too! They will be mesmerized by what one can do with a simple toy.

Platform: Tara Donovan is view now through Monday, October 12, 2015.(Photo: Gary Mamay)

On the heels of her recent solo exhibition at Pace Gallery on 57th Street, Platform: Tara Donovan presents three recently completed works. Known for her unique ability to transform every day objects into beautiful and alluring works of art, Donovan makes use of the Slinky® at the Parrish. While Donovan admits she has no special connection to this commonplace toy, the artist chooses her materials based on their inherent potential to be manipulated and reconstructed.

Platform: Tara Donovan is comprised of a trio of distinct pieces, all Untitled, 2015. Like the paper plates, plastic cups, pins and rubber bands employed in her earlier work, the Slinkys® are twisted, flattened, stretched and conjoined into two and three-dimensional works which transcend the banal physical nature of their material. "Her vision and sense of play allows her to transform the most mundane objects into breathtaking installations," shared Andrea Grover, Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish Art Museum.

The first work visitors meet is a sprawling, nearly 30 foot wide wall installation which extends from the east to the south wall of the Parrish's Norman and Liliane Peck/The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation Lobby. In this piece, Donovan has deconstructed countless Slinkys® and flattened them into a two-dimensional "drawing" of organic, interconnecting forms which take advantage generous proportions of this airy and light-filled lobby.

The second work, a large freestanding sculpture is installed in the Permanent Collection gallery's "Material World" exhibition. This piece highlights the use of found and everyday objects. Measuring approximately 7 x 7 x 7 feet, this sculpture was created in response to the works in the space by Donald Lipski, Louise Nevelson, and Alfonso Ossorio.

The final work in the Donovan show is a monoprint, measuring an impressive 57 x 97 inches. This comparatively dark image exposes the form of the Slinky® in a sort of x-ray vision. These negative or reverse images were created by placing the flattened Slinkys® on a steel plate which was then sprayed and printed.

Platform: Tara Donovan is comprised of a trio of distinct pieces, all Untitled, 2015. (Photo: Gary Mamay)

Marc Glimcher of Pace Gallery, which represents the artist, aptly sums up Donovan's approach: "Tara is an inventor, in that way Calder was. She looks at materials at hand, whether it's Slinky's or pins or plastic cups and sees a way to describe the world; a way to reveal something that immediately resonates with the viewer. People cannot help but marvel at her work."

On view now through Monday, October 12, 2015, Platform: Tara Donovan was organized by Parrish's Century Arts Foundation curator Andrea Grover and is the 4th installment of the Platform program, which provides a single artist each year the opportunity to present their works at the Museum. The program encourages artists to take advantage of the unique setting and architecture of the Parrish.

Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 631-283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

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