Miami Biennale presents Michele Oka Doner’s Exhaling Gnosis

Miami Biennale

November 16, 2011

November 29–April 28, 2012

Monday, November 28, 6:00 –8:00 PM

Miami Print Shop
3000 N. Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33127

Miami Biennale is pleased to host Exhaling Gnosis, the first major exhibition of works on paper by Michele Oka Doner, opening Monday, November 28 and on view through 28 April 2012.

The exhibition includes sixteen 40 x 60 inch handmade abaca paper pieces made at the Dieu Donné Papermill in New York City, seven totemic relief prints from organic materials produced at Wildwood Press in St. Louis, a series of prints made with Dykem spray paint on kraft paper, and two oversized books.

The installation, conceived by curator Peter Menéndez, emphasizes the captivating beauty of these feral, organic works of art as they reflect on the imagery of the natural world, of plants, animals, insects, and are transformed into visual statements that take a Rorschach-like quality.

For Michele Oka Doner the natural world is an integral part of her visual vocabulary. Following her recent show, Neuration of the Genus at Dieu Donné, this exhibition reflects and expands on structure, patterns in nature and wordless texts, an understanding that allows the artist to use the substantive endowment provided by nature and materialize it into notes for her “songs.”

The abaca pieces and Palm Book incorporate organic palm material, often with tremendous texture and density, directly into the paper, producing a highly charged relationship between the objects they are and the images they create. Similarly, the relief prints are made directly by skillfully arranging various roots, vines and seaweed on the printing plate and inking them. Within these works the specific plant forms Oka Doner chooses and the arrangements she achieves are both suspended in an ethereal veil of sublimity within the abaca sheets and deeply embossed into the diaphanous fibrous essence of the paper; we sense Oka Doner’s transformative hand.

These dramatic works express a devotion to nature’s detritus and a clear understanding of the distinct, almost hieroglyphic, form of language they represent. The artist uses these materials as a sculptor does, creating a series of unique works that capture the spirit and form of the natural world.

The second oversized book, What is the White, a limited edition artist book published by Dieu Donné Press, sensuously explores the nature of whiteness. The artist tells her story through a convergence of exquisite materials—translucent and opaque papers, sumptuous waxes and felts, original prose letterpressed in the artist’s hand—aptly described by the art historian Pari Stave as “an artic jewel box.” Forming an exquisite and meditative object, the book transports the viewer from the systematic theories of whiteness, color and perception to nature’s more spiritual rewards.

About the artist: The artist is well-known for her numerous public art installations, including A Walk on the Beach and From Seashore to Tropical Garden at Miami International Airport and Healing Plants at the UMDNJ University Hospital Center in Newark, NJ. Her work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Miami Art Museum, and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, among others. Included in her many publications are three monographs: Natural Seduction (2003), Workbook (2004) and Michele Oka Doner: HumanNature (2008). Oka Doner is represented by Marlborough Gallery.

About Miami Biennale: Miami Biennale is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to promote the arts. Its mission is to advocate creative dialogues between Miami’s multi-layered community and an international audience, stimulating public/private initiatives and funding that generates projects with interactive platforms for education and community transformation through culture.

Exhibition Hours: Thursday through Saturday 10 am–4:00 pm. These hours apply only during exhibition dates. Gallery tours or informal viewings for groups of 5 or more by appointments. Please contact 305.576.2914, events [​at​]