Los Angeles

Tara Donovan

ACE Gallery

Appropriately titled “Tara Donovan: Survey,” the first major West Coast solo exhibition of this artist’s work was also, thanks to the spaciousness of Ace’s city-block-long gallery, something of an early retrospective. At their strongest, Donovan’s works merge literalist fascination with illusionist wonder, demonstrating how an artist can transform material and how art can transform experience. But while this seven-year overview wowed with impressive works, it also revealed some weaknesses.

A 2005 remake of Donovan’s Ripple, 1998, a floor-based work comprising countless bits of electrical wire arranged into a carpet of undulating concentric rings, affirmed, as it did at the 2000 Whitney Biennial, the artist’s talent for generating ambitiously elaborate yet focused and often subtle objects and images from massive quantities of basic materials in tiny units—a methodology present throughout

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