I’m pleased to announce that I am part of the Landed exhibition curated by Millee Tibbs at Darkroom Detroit. Other artists include Amelia Bauer, Morgan Barrie, Binh Danh, Laura Plageman, Anastasia Samoloyva, Griselda San Martin, Rachel Sussman, Kimberlee Venable, and Letha Wilson. The show runs from November 16 to December 15th.
In Matthew Harrison Tedford’s review of the the Westward show at San Francisco City Hall titled “In Their Versions of the West, the Landscapes Are Never Empty,” my work along with Greta Pratt’s, Kathya Maria Landeros’, and Mercedes’ Dorame’s. The following is his mention of my work:
“From the Marlboro Man to Yosemite Sam, the West is often thought of as a place of maximum masculinity, a place of grit, determination and heroic self-actualization, particularly for cowboys, miners, bikers and the like. The misleadingly named Pacific Ocean can itself be seen as a site of adventure and danger. But in Death Wooed Us, Donna J. Wan presents the California coast in a series of seductive and often airy photographs. Golden Gate Bridge (#6), for example, depicts a small sailboat enveloped by the Golden Gate’s hallmark fog. The scene appears calm, but the insignificance of the boat against the backdrop of the Pacific suggests an inherent danger.
The settings of Death Wooed Us aren't just beautiful sites to Wan—she chose to photograph locations that have attracted those wishing to end their lives. Wan herself was drawn to them when she experienced a severe case of postpartum depression. She says her intention was not to romanticize suicide, but to offer a glimpse into the minds of those who seek out beautiful places in which to die. Though it may take great strength to overcome the desire to end one’s life, Wan is open to and emphasizes this vulnerability.
Long before Wan captured her images, one of the most famous early photographers of the Western United States was Timothy O'Sullivan, a member of a federal geological survey of the region in the 1860s. O’Sullivan’s documentation of the region presents landscapes of profound emptiness often with no reference to local human history, which stretches back more than 10,000 years. Erasure of history is an instrument of colonialism that primes societies to take over that which is not theirs. At the same time, calling attention to this history or re-inserting it into the landscape is an act of reclamation.”
My work from the Westward exhibition was featured in both the print and online version of the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook section on May 11th, 2018. In the print version, it's on the cover and there's a full page spread.
Westward, an exhibition curated by Ann Jastrab, is opening on May 11th, 2018 at the San Francisco City Hall. I'm excited to be in the year-long exhibition along with 9 other great photographers doing work about the West. Please join us at the opening reception!
San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
8 A.M. - 8 P.M. Monday - Friday
Exhibition Dates: May 11, 2018 - May 10, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, May 11, 5:30 - 7:30 P.M
5 P.M. exhibition walk-through with the curator, Ann Jastrab
Free and open to the public
The San Francisco Arts Commission’s Art at City Hall program is pleased to present Westward, an exhibition that features ten female photographers documenting and depicting the West. Curated by independent curator Ann Jastrab, Westward presents an opportunity to break away from patriarchal representations of the West and its historical association with Manifest Destiny (a “masculine” endeavor and the subject of the male-dominated landscape artist field), and offers an alternative vision of this region of the United States.
“These projects are diverse and divergent and yet all are held together by the women’s strength of seeing,” says Jastrab. The works in the exhibition share within them a personal connection with the land, with the subjects, and with their experience of the West. “[In looking at the exhibition], it becomes apparent that the photographers were doing more than observing and documenting their surroundings,” Jastrab continues, “they were drawn by the light and the scenes around them, so much so that they became embedded in the work.”
“Westward creates a profound and sensitive portrait of the American West through the work of these 10 diverse women artists,” states SFAC Galleries Director Meg Shiffler. “The artists have imbued their work with personal narrative, giving a complex and human face to this landscape.”
The exhibition features photographs by a diverse, multigenerational group of women photographers, including: Christa Blackwood, Mercedes Dorame, Ingeborg Gerdes, Tomiko Jones, Kathya Maria Landeros, Jennifer Little, Kari Orvik, Mimi Plumb, Greta Pratt, and Donna J. Wan.
I am very pleased to have work from the Death Wooed Us series to be included in the upcoming exhibition curated by Mary Anne Redding at 516 ARTS in Albuquerque. The exhibition examines how photography poses a unique opportunity to look at loss, extinction, death and renewal, spanning emotional landscapes of human death as well as environmental landscapes of destruction
May 27 - July 22, 2017
curated by Mary Anne Redding
516 Central Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
I am really excited that my work has been selected for Boundless: A California Invitational at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Five photographs from Death Wooed Us are featured alongside the work of estmeed artists Matthew Brandt, John Chiara, Kevin Cooley, Eileen Cowin, Jason Engelund, CJ Heyliger, Mona Kuhn, Michael Light, David Maisel, Alex Prager and Carly Steward.
The exhibition will be on view from October 15, 2016 to January 29, 2017.
The Members Opening Reception is on Friday, October 14, 2016 at 7:00pm. Please join me if you are a member!
Museum of Photographic Arts, 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
China-based Lens Magazine, a monthly print-only publication dedicated to culture and fine art photography featured my Death Wooed Us series in their August 2016 issue. Here are sample pages from the feature.
My work and show are featured in both the print and online April 2015 edition of PDN.
Feature Shoot highlighted my show at Rick Wester Fine Art as on of the top 10 photo events to see in March. See below
My latest project, Death Wooed Us, opens at Rick Wester Fine Art in New York, NY on March 19th. This is my first solo exhibition in New York, and I am thrilled to be represented by Rick Wester Fine Art. The opening preview is on Thursday, March 19, 6pm-8pm. Please stop by if you are in New York!
Death Wooed Us was also featured in Beautiful Decay, Aint-Bad Magazine, Photoworld (Chinese print magazine), and in the April 2015 (current) issue of PDN magazine.
I have been selected by Linda Benedict-Jones, Curator of Photography at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh as the International Award Winner of the Fellowship 14 International Photography Competition.
Work from my In the Landscape project will be on display at the Silver Eye Center for Photography from January 31 through March 22, 2014.
The opening reception will be on Friday, January 31st, from 6-8pm. Silver Eye is located at 1015 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203.
“Donna J. Wan’s mesmerizing images are concerned with people’s interactions with nature. Witnessing the human race as presented through her lens is liberating,” states Benedict-Jones. “The men and women we witness in the forest, at the gorge, by the river, and elsewhere, are dwarfed by nature as they assume their rightful place in the universe. With their backs turned to us, and their faces barely visible, these people become placeholders for you, and for me.” - Linda Benedict-Jones, Curator of Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art