Michele Oka Doner: Bringing the Fire at David Gill Gallery

Michele Oka Doner’s exhibition ‘Bringing the Fire’ is as alluring as the title sounds, its display of intriguing sculptures beckoning passers by in from the streets outside.  This is the artist’s second solo exhibition at the David Gill Gallery, which shows a return to her ritualistic creation of sculptures and large scale works. Oka Doner’s work is fuelled by her lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world, from which she derives much of her artistic vocabulary. It is also a great sense of curiosity and wonder that provides the driving force behind her work.

‘Bringing the Fire’ engulfs the entire gallery in a series of dark sculptures that act as giant candle holders, which when lit set the room ablaze. Fire consumes, warms and illuminates, but it can also bring pain and death. It is predominantly used as a symbol of Hell. However, it can also be used as a symbol of inspiration. It is the only one of the four natural elements that humans can produce themselves, bridging the gap between mortals and Gods. Rituals involving fire often involve an eternal flame, and it is often associated with birth and resurrection.

‘Alter II’ is an incredibly ambitious sculpture, measuring almost six feet high and almost ten feet in length. Although it has been cast in patinated bronze it gives the appearance of a large piece of burnt tree. Candles protrude from the mass in every angle, almost like plants growing upward and out in any direction they can, trying to reach the light.

Oka Doner has created a new kind of sacred art in the form of ritualistic fire-burning sculptures, which is rooted in a strong awareness of nature. Her creations are fully entwined with nature and Oka Doner’s conviction and passion is evident in every single one of her works. Visitors to David Gill Gallery are given the celestial opportunity to walk among physical representations of devotion, strength and beauty through this exhibition, which blurs the boundaries between art and sacred spaces.

‘Bringing the Fire’ is on until 25th April.  More information may be found here.