Dona Nelson's Stand Alone Exhibition at Tang

Dona Nelson, Stand Alone at the Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga, New York. July 2018

Dona Nelson, Stand Alone at the Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga, New York. July 2018

I had an unexpected interaction with a current exhibition at the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga, New York. Dona Nelson’s ‘Stand Alone Paintings’ were on view. I found them to be excellent teaching mechanisms, as well as works of art. The Stand Alone’s were what Roberta Smith raved about back in 2014 for Phigor at Thomas Erben. 

1) /Front Facing/  Night Studio , 2008 Acrylic paint, cheesecloth, soft gel medium, and tar gel medium on double-sided canvas with raw steel stand Collection of Thomas Erben Gallery, New York  2) /Rear Facing/  OK (A Perfect Spring Day) , 2009 Acrylic paint, cheesecloth, modeling paste, soft gel medium, and tar gel medium on double-sided canvas with raw steel stand Museum of Nebraska Art Collection

1) /Front Facing/ Night Studio, 2008 Acrylic paint, cheesecloth, soft gel medium, and tar gel medium on double-sided canvas with raw steel stand Collection of Thomas Erben Gallery, New York

2) /Rear Facing/ OK (A Perfect Spring Day), 2009 Acrylic paint, cheesecloth, modeling paste, soft gel medium, and tar gel medium on double-sided canvas with raw steel stand Museum of Nebraska Art Collection

Mounted on steel frames, abstract works suspend. What is more, they are painted on both sides. On the reverse you will find an inspirited response to her colorful abstract thoughts on canvas. The reverse side is something of an anatomy of the canvas whole. As a Whole, the viewer must address each side.

/Rear Facing/  Night Studio , 2008 Acrylic paint, cheesecloth, soft gel medium, and tar gel medium on double-sided canvas with raw steel stand Collection of Thomas Erben Gallery, New York

/Rear Facing/ Night Studio, 2008 Acrylic paint, cheesecloth, soft gel medium, and tar gel medium on double-sided canvas with raw steel stand Collection of Thomas Erben Gallery, New York

While each side is distinct, duality is nonexistent—where paint was laid on the reverse, it followed the pattern of the front facing. The collaborative aspect that I see for teaching could be a lesson in rising perspectives that inform stages of adolescents.

 

The lesson serves as an immersive learning experience, peeling back the layers of thought, idea, proprietorship, and influence. A child can introduce an idea knowing that it will be viewed as equal, but that also contributes to something greater. And from the pride of having contributed to something greater, be wholly invested in its nurturing. Of equal if not of more importance, in a fostering learning environment a child may experiment with the effects of external (to the physical body) influences.