Donna Cleary

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rowan, 2013 Wood, Wax, Fabric, Paint, Metal 54 X 18.5 X 23 Inches © Donna Cleary
detail rowan
disjoint, 2013 Plaster, Metal, Rope, Wood 52 X 42 X 13.5 Inches © Donna Cleary
detail disjoint
spare, 2013 Gloves, Sand, Metal Rod 5 X 10 X 16 Inches © Donna Cleary
skin, 2013 Silicone, Wood, Glass, Light 39 X 31.5 X 18 Inches
detail skin
white on white, 2013 Paper, Wood, Cardboard 29 X 19.5 X 15 Inches
view, 2013 Paper, Ladle, Plinth 46 X 12 X 12 Inches
detail view
transfigure, 2013 Paper, Reclaimed Wood, Plaster, Paint, Ink, Plastic Bags, Monofiliment Foil 61 X 12 X 11 Inches © Donna Cleary
detail: transfigure
cycle, 2013 Vine, Bucket, Chicken Wire, Wire, Plastic Gloves 104 X 54 X 36 © Donna Cleary
detail: cycle, 2013
detail: cycle, 2013
detail: aberration, 2013 Paper Mache, Cement Fragments, Foil, Twine, Wire 51 X 29 X 8 Inches © Donna Cleary
aberration, 2013 Paper Mache, Wire, Chop Sticks, Twine, Cement Framents 51 X 29 X 8 Inches
Quick Facts
MFA in Fine Arts candidate at the School of Visual Arts, 2014, MFA Fine Arts
Undergrad courses at SVA and Columbia University, 2011
Bachelor of Science University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, BS
sculpture, mixed-media



I'm interested in folklore and pagan ceremony.  My sculptures can be see as fetish objects and are drawn from my experience in the woods where I sense a change on a mental and physical level.  Embedded in religions across the world are trees that symbolize a link between "heaven" and earth - a conduit between our existence and an alternate state of being that allows us to transcend the every day.  

Each sculpture contains a relic or artifact taken as a cast from the woods.  These are made with ephemeral materials such as paper mache, wax or plaster.  Sometimes, I use the casts themselves because of the human-like qualities they posses and their ability to capture pieces of the woods during the casting process.  These relics are paired with products of industrialization either as detritus found on the streets of NYC or as mass produced consumer goods.  It is through these combinations that the work takes on life.

Tapping into my history as an RN and my knowledge of the human body as well as my insights as a mother, I'm interested in Shaminism and am exploring the link to ceremony, the body and the preternatural. 

The mother figure is central to my familial experience.  In a Pagan context, the woman's center of power stemmed from her generative and destructive powers as well as her involvment in shaping the next generation of human beings.  

I'm interested in the idea of survival and how a life continues after it has been turned upside down.  The unknown after a loss can be crippling but my work is about a steadfast determinism that prevails.  I often work with trash and found objects because they were once a part of a whole that has been disassembled and cast aside.  They suggest potential, a moment that exists between destruction and growth  Each fragment is a glimpse of a story that is waiting to be retold with a different ending. I want the objects to become something new, to reference their past, but to grow a new skin and context.

Frailty and strength coexist and the traditions of craft and sculpture are mixed with invention, creating fresh forms.  Inspired by my own experiences and observations, I want to transform materials into transcendent experiences.  c     




2014 Master of Fine Arts, Fine Art

     School of Visual Arts, NY, NY

2011 Undergraduate courses in Art History

     Columbia University

2011-2012 Undergraduate courses in Installation, Sculpture, Art History, Printmaking

      School of Visual Arts

Bachelor of Science

      University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Select Exhibitions:

2014 (Upcoming) Spring, Slide Slam, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT

2013 (Upcoming) October 24, Antithesis, Present Company, New York, NY

     Curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud

2013 (Upcoming) October 17, Now, Fuse Infrastructure, Allentown, PA

2013 Figment, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA

2013 Universal, Brooklyn Fire Proof, New York, NY

     Curated by David Gibson

2013 Big Time, Fringe Festival, Site Specific Installation, Allentown, PA

2013 Pig Pen Project, Site specific installation, Mayfair Festival, Allentown, PA

2012 Select Fair, French Neon Collective, Miami, FL, Art Basel Week

2011 You are here, Second Floor Gallery, New York, NY

2011 Art Connects Gallery, New York, NY

2010 Flux Factory, Chelsea, NY

2010 Seven Year Itch, Leo Kesting Gallery, New York, NY

2010 The X Spot, (SOLO EXHIBITION), Leo Kesting Gallery, New York, NY

2010 Fountain NY Art Fair, Leo Kesting Gallery, New York, NY, Armory Week

2009 Fountain Miami, Leo Kesting Gallery, Miami, Florida, Art Basel Week

2009 Headbones Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2009 Deleon White Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2009 Fountain NY Art Fair, Leo Kesting Gallery, New York, NY, Armory Week

2009 True Love is Fleeting,Leo Kesting Gallery,New York, NY

2008 Fountain Miami, Leo Kesting Gallery, Miami, Florida, Art Basel Week

2008 Guaranteed Good, Leo Kesting Gallery, New York, NY

2008 www.women, Headbones Gallery, Toronto, CA

2006 Xray, Yankee, Zulo, Monkdogz Urban Art, New York, NY


Jonathan Stein, The X Spot, Spread Art Culture, January 21, 2010

Marina Hedley, Blurring Boundaries, Monkdogz Artblog, January 14, 2010

Catinca Tabacaru, Donna Cleary The X Spot at Leo Kesting, Tincaart, January, 2010

Jessica Gallucci,, The Economist, February 2009, Armory week 2009: Fountain Art Review, February 2009

Blazakovic Norelsky, Irreversible Magazine, March 2009

ArtMoco, February 2009

Torontovisualartists, The Collective, February 2008

Art Moco, Modern Contemporary Art,, "Painting: Donna Cleary", August

23 2006

Art Moco, Modern Contemporary Art,, "This week at Art Moco", Art

Moco, Aug 25 2006

The New Yorkers, MetroStudios Inc., New York, NY, Live TV interview, July 19 2009


2011 School of Visual Arts, Summer Residency, New York, NY

Teaching experience:

2013-2014 Teaching Assistant: Foundation Sculpture, undergraduate class at the School of Visual Arts

Artist Assistant:

2013 Diana Cooper

2012-13 Bill Schuck


2012-13 Founder and President, Theory and Practice Group, School of Visual Arts, NY, NY

Curating Experience:

2013 Co-Curator, Permission, Critique Space, 133 West 21st St, New York, NY




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