Working in diverse media including video, installation, object making and performance, Donnan has worked with communities and institutions across the U.S., The Netherlands, Iceland, Canada, France and Australia. She has presented work at Moma PS1, LIVE: Biennial of Performance Art, the Internationale Cité des Arts Paris and the International Symposium of Electronic Art in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During 2015 her Appliqué series was exhibited in Australia and the United States, her video Articulated Line was transmitted into outer space and she was commissioned to create work for Cosmic Love Wonder Lust, a survey exhibition of the Imperial Slacks Artist Collective at Sydney College of the Arts and Campbelltown Arts Center, where she was an artist in residence.
All the transport and communication systems in the world become one surface. They are lifted, lace like, to create a single object, a single piece of crafted network fabric. This multi-system material forms the conceptual underbelly of Donnan's practice. Seeking to understand human nature through migratory systems, network theory, and poetics, Léa Donnan proposes a prototype craft for the future, weaving with abstractions of systems entangled in the shifting tides of globalism. Cataloguing the communal history of materials as part of a wider cultural narrative, she produces cinematic drawings as woven abstractions of international distribution systems in transport, industry and communication. Donnan is an American Australian artist raised in France, England, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia & Australia to a Japanese born Austrian mother & Australian/Irish father. Her personal, transitory experiences of culture and language form the basis for her practice.
College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney — MFA, 2014
Yale University, Intensive Filmmaking — Summer Session, 2009
College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney — BFA, 1999
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore — Pre College Residency, 1996
Junkyard Oracle, Surel's Place, Boise, ID, 2016.
The Whispering Gallery, Kudos Gallery, Sydney, 2013
Bókfær›u/Net Value, National Seafarers Festival, Skagastrond, Iceland, 2012.
American Family Portrait, Slope Editions, Suzees 3rd St Laundry, Turners Falls, MA, 2012.
All Enquiring Friends, Burden Ironworks Museum, Troy, NY, 2012.
Truckers on Love, Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore, Australia, 2009.
1000 Miles of I Love You, Northampton Municipal Parking, Northampton, MA, 2008.
Adult Female, Chiasma, LIVE: Biennial of Performance Art, Vancouver, Canada, 2003.
The First Ritual, Artspace, Sydney, 2001.
Travel Kit for a Sacred Script, Artbox, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 2001.
Conversations(Antechamber for Pilgrims), Blaugrau, Sydney, 2001.
Decoy, Strip Gallery, Melbourne, 1999.
Reliquary, Herringbone Gallery, Sydney, 1998.
Broken White, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. (curated by Mathieu Meijers, Jurgen Bey, Bas van Tol and Thomas Widdershoven, Design Academy Eindhoven. [catalogue]), 2016.
Peekskill Project 6, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY, 2015.
Cosmic Love Wanderlust: The Imperial Slacks Project, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney College of the Arts gallery. (curated by Nick Tsoutas and Michael Dagostino [catalogue]), 2015.
Forever Now, MOFO 2016, Hobart, Tasmania. (Directed by Willoh S. Weiland, curated by Thea Baumann, Jeff Khan and Brian Ritchie), 2015.
High Desert Test Sites 2013, Joshua Tree, CA, 2013. (curated by Andrea Zittel, Dave Hickey & Libby Lumpkin), 2013.
Living Walls Festival Albany, Office 21, Albany, 2011.
Expert Oddities, Flux Projects, Queens, NY, 2011.
DOS Screenings, The Distillery, Boston, MA, 2006.
Brainstorms, Grant Pirrie Gallery, Sydney, 2005.
Art Bizarre, The Green Room, Montreal, 2004.
Festivus, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 2003.
Videospell 2: Personae, The Performance Space, Sydney. ( curated by Blair French [catalogue]), 2003.
Artbox Inc., Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 2003.
Positive Overkill, Imperial Slacks gallery, Sydney, 2002.
B-Hotel, Moma P.S.1, New York, NY, 2001.
Serial Sevens - Vol. 2, Imperial Slacks, (curated by Angelica Mesiti), 2001.
Imperial Alliance, Imperial Slacks gallery, Sydney, 2000.
Eighteen is Enough, Herringbone Gallery, Sydney, 2000.
Factory Sellout, Herringbone Gallery, Sydney, 1999.
Indahaus, Herringbone Gallery, Sydney, 1998.
The Studios at Mass Moca, North Adams, MA, 2017.
Surel's Place, Boise, Idaho, 2016.
Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney, 2015.
NES Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland, 2011(2).
Artspace, The Gunnery, Sydney, 2009.
Residency Fellowship, Contemporary Artists Center, Troy, NY 2009.
Internationale Cité des Arts, Art Gallery of NSW studio, Paris, France, 2005.
Northampton City Arts Council, Northampton, MA, 2008.
University of Sydney, Department for Performance Studies, 2003.
Artspace, The Gunnery, Sydney, 2002.
ARTSTART, Australia Council for the Arts, 2015.
Scholarship, ISEA 2012: Machine Wilderness, International Symposium of Electronic Arts, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2012.
College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales Travel fund, 2012.
University of New South Wales, Australian Postgraduate Award, 2010.
New Work, Visual Arts Craft Fund, Australia Council for the Arts.
Franklin County Action Coalition, Community Arts, Montague, MA, 2007.
Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship, Sydney, 2005.
Goddard Sapin Jaloustre Scholarship, French Australian Exchange, Sydney, 2005.
New Work, Visual Arts Craft Fund, Australia Council for the Arts, 2004.
Pat Corrigan Artist and Marketing Grant, National Association for the Visual Arts, Sydney, 2002.
Pat Corrigan Artist and Marketing Grant, National Association for the Visual Arts, Sydney, 1999.
Emerging Artist Initiative, Australia Council for the Arts, 1999.
Bryce Courtenay Young Sculptor's Award, Sculpture by the Sea, Sydney, 1998.
University of New South Wales Gas Scheme, Sydney, 1998.
International scholarship, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, 1996.
Catalogue, “Broken White”, The Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Oct. 2016.
Tammy La Gorce, “Peekskill as Canvas for Artists Near and Far”, The New York Times, N.Y. Region/ Arts Hudson Valley, Oct 15, 2015. https://nyti.ms/2r9LF5U
James Valentine, “Sydney’s Artistic Collective the Imperial Slacks Reunite" ABC TV, The Mix, ABC Arts, August 19, 2015. http://www.abc.net.au/arts/stories/s4296338.htm
Lenny Ann Low, “They f#%ked, they made art, they contributed to the city.”
Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum, Aug 7, 2015. p10.
Andrew Frost, “Messy Telling of Imperial Slacks Story”, The Guardian, Aug. 17, 2015. cosmic-love-wonder-lust-imperial-slacks-sydney-review
Matthew Irwin, “High Desert Test Sites”, Frieze Magazine, Issue 161, March 5, 2014. https://frieze.com/article/high-desert-test-sites
James Kiesow, “October Desert Art Trek”, Curator Magazine,15/10/03. october-desert-art-trek
Sarah Maslin, “Nocturnalist; Fixations that are Odd, Even for New York”, The New York Times, January 7, 2011.
Michael Young, “Elusive Aesthetics”, Art Asia Pacific, Issue 64, 2009.
Tina Antolini, Interview, “Truckers on Love Break Stereotypes”, National Public Radio, Amherst, MA. December 12, 2008.
Arn Albertini, “View of Love from the Road”, Greenfield Recorder, Nov. 17, 2008.
David Detmold, “Truckers on Love”, The Montague Reporter, Nov. 6, 2008.
Alex Gawronski, “Imperial Slacks”, Broadsheet, Vol. 31, No. 4, p. 28.
Courtney Kidd, “Art Notes” Art Monthly Australia, Issue 183, 2005.
The Art Life, “Barn Storming”, June 16, 2005. theartlife.com.au
Blair French, Videospell, catalogue, Performance Space Sydney, 2004.
Elizabeth Pulie, Lives of the Artists # 8, Elizabeth Pulie, Imperial Slacks, p 4-5, Dec 2004.
Lenny Ann Low, “New Media”, The Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 20, 2003.
Russell Storer, “Artbox Inc.”, catalogue, Sherman Galleries, 2003.
Michael Hutak, "Sydney's Rising Art Stars”, The Australian Art Collector, Issue 16, 2001.
Courtney Kidd, “Dealing a Good Hand” The Sydney Morning Herald, April 11, 2000.
Sebastian Smee, “Rough Ride for New Wave of Sculptors” The Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 9, 1998.c
Michael Evans, “Sculptures in the Sand”, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 9, 1998.