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Dona Nelson

Dona Nelson, Okie Dokie, 2008 (front). Dyed cheesecloth and acrylic on canvas, 78 1/8 × 83 1/4 in. (198.4 × 211.5 cm) Collection of the artist; courtesy Thomas Erben Gallery, New York. © Dona Nelson. Photograph by Gary Donnelly

Dona Nelson, Okie Dokie, 2008 (front). Dyed cheesecloth and acrylic on canvas, 78 1/8 × 83 1/4 in. (198.4 × 211.5 cm) Collection of the artist; courtesy Thomas Erben Gallery, New York. © Dona Nelson. Photograph by Gary Donnelly

Born 1947 in Grand Island, NE
Lives and works in Lansdale, PA, and New York, NY

Since participating in the Whitney Independent Study Program in the late 1960s, Dona Nelson has painted steadily, while never settling into a signature style or letting herself repeat past experiments. Her work nonetheless can be identified by its bold use of color and experimentation with texture, as seen in the two-sided paintings included in the 2014 Biennial; she stitched them with dyed thread and allowed paint to seep through the untreated canvases to emphasize their structure and surface. Nelson’s improvisatory process involves building up a surface over months as the traces of her drips, pours, and scrapes accumulate, revealing the effects of time on the work. 

On View

Fourth Floor

Dona Nelson’s work is on view in the Museum’s fourth floor galleries.