DONNA DENNIS STUDIES FOR LITTLE TUBE HOUSE AND THE NIGHT SKY NOVEMBER 19–DECEMBER 22, 2015 OPENING: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 6-8PM
Mixed Greens is honored that its last exhibition will be a solo show by renowned sculptor Donna Dennis. Studies for Little Tube House and the Night Sky is an arresting installation of gouache paintings, dioramas, and an architectural sculpture that will transform the gallery space into a poetic contemplation of friendship, death, and connection.
Donna Dennis is one of a small group of groundbreaking women—including Alice Aycock, Jackie Ferrara, and Mary Miss—who pushed sculpture toward the domain of architecture in the early 1970s. Deborah Everett writes in Sculpture magazine “When Donna Dennis created her earnest, plain-spoken Tourist Cabins at the outset of her career, they had the impact of cultural icons.” Drawing from overlooked fragments of rural and urban vernacular American architecture, her sculptures—tourist cabins, hotels, subway stations, roller coasters—have represented stopping places on the journey through life. Human scale (most of the structures are directly proportioned to her body), the structures induce an in-between feeling for viewers: familiar, yet otherworldly; inert, yet bodily; inviting, yet inaccessible. Interior spaces are illuminated and visible though entered by the imagination alone.
Two years ago, Dennis saw a diminutive structure with tubes and wires protruding, on the shores of Lake Superior. When a young friend became ill and passed away, Dennis began a series of gouache paintings depicting a small, pale house with pipes and cables frantically reaching out into a large and formidable darkness. The images now form a poetic narrative representing her friend’s energy, spirit, and connection to the Universe. In a larger sense, they represent a final journey. While always remaining grounded and connected to Earth, the house’s searching tubes eventually allow it to stretch to reach the stars.