DENVER (CBS4) – “Fieldwork” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is a retrospective of the work of American artist Tara Donovan.

(credit: CBS)

“This is the first time that we’re able to bring together both her large scale sculptures, as well as, many different series of work on paper,” said Nora Burnett Abrams, the Ellen Bruss Curator and Director of Planning at MCA Denver.

The exhibit includes about 60 works and occupies nearly the entire MCA building on Delgany Street in Downtown Denver. Burnett Abrams curated the exhibition specifically for MCA, and then it will become a traveling show next year.

“When conceiving of the exhibition, when developing the checklist, I really had these spaces in mind. What would work best with the architecture we have? And I always suspected that Tara’s work would be this amazing marriage of art and architecture,” Burnett Abrams told CBS4.

(credit: CBS)

Donovan is known for working with common, every-day items and then fashioning them into unexpected works of art. There is a nearly floor-to-ceiling sculpture made out of index cards. One sculpture made out of mylar takes up nearly a whole room.

“Fieldwork attests to a sort of research based process. And, that’s very much the manner in which she works. She identifies a material she’s curious about, she brings in large amounts of it into her studio, she clears out everything else, and she focuses on just that one thing,” Burnett Abrams explained.

Donovan works with the material, experiments with it until she finds a new expression for it. There are several panels designed with sewing pins, prints made with rubber bands, and a sculpture made out of Slinkys.

“Once we see that these humble materials can be transformed into something surreal or sublime even, I think it just gives people so much faith and excitement about both the creative process, and opening their minds a little bit,” Burnett Abrams said.

Tara Donovan Fieldwork will be on display at MCA until Jan. 27. Learn more at