Icon | Michele Oka Doner

Losing our ability to articulate a complex set of visual and emotive concepts is critical. We long for this gap of understanding as it signals progress. The movements born of the seventies in America are still resonating with contemporary efforts down to the most subtle moments. The seventies were unabashed, daring, experimental and every medium started to exchange with each other. The strict disciplines of architecture and object design started to inform abstract painters; poets started hanging off the lines of brush strokes instead of the familiar canons of ancient literature. This losing of boundaries has created the learned relics that continue to influence contemporary artists.

Volcana and Aphrodite, 2004-5. Cast bronze.

Palm Book 2, 2004. 


Michele Oka Doner has been making work since the seventies. When one has such a depth of accomplishments and mediums it ironically, becomes more difficult to discuss their work as it is difficult to fixate on one central point. Duchamp lived with the Large Glass in his studio for ten years, one of the true enigmatic performances in art; letting it collect dust and more importantly, letting it collect time and intention. Oka Doner is infamous for designing every object in her world and studio herself, “I have always believed that our daily lives should be approached with grace and ceremony.” This extends into her garments which often echo draped Grecian robes or minimalist sculptural costumes. Her phenomenal love of the natural world echoes and sits with heavy weight in her work such as, a human torso constructed of twigs of steel. She too sits surrounded in her studio by accumulated meaning in ethereal dust. The seventies whisper their untamed quiet revolt and patiently wait for her assigned meaning or can very graciously live without.

Words by Brit Parks

Images from The Wall Street Journal, Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, and Getty Images

View more of Michele's work here— micheleokadoner.com

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