Call of the wild: Michele Oka Doner’s Mysterium at David Gill Gallery

Call of the wild: Michele Oka Doner’s Mysterium at David Gill Gallery

New York-based sculptor, author and jewelry designer Michele Oka Doner brings her curious compendium to London’s David Gill Gallery with a solo show

New York-based Michele Oka Doner is one of those fearless designers who effortlessly transcends mediums. Whether its a line of fine jewellery, a video installation, a book or a subway station wall, Doner has tackled them all over her four-decade career.

On show until 18 December, 23 of Doner’s works created over 25 years (1990 - 2015) have been gathered in London for a solo exhibition at David Gill Gallery. Titled ’Mysterium’, the gallery has been transformed into a dimly lit cave filled with Doner’s curiously-textured furniture and objects. Among them are a rough hewn circular bench, table and a branch-like candelabra all made from cast bronze; sterling silver goblets appear as if they were made from folded fabric while a set of place card holders appear to be cast from clusters of seaweed or coral. 

Born in 1945 in Miami Beach, the daughter of the city mayor and the granddaughter of artist Samuel Heller, Doner’s formative years were spent outdoors, combing Florida’s beaches and exploring the local fauna and flora. It was these early experiences that ignited her love of the natural world and would go on to shape her distinctive design aesthetic. Described by writer and curator Suzanne Ramljak as ’the sculptural interpreter of nature’s vast lexicon’ and ’nature’s scribe’ by the curator Barbara Bloemink, Doner’s sculptural work sits within the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Smithsonian Institution and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; V&A Museum, London; Centre Pompidou Library and La Musée des Arts Décoratifs, The Louvre, Paris.

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