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Donna Payton
Millstone Township, NJ
Sculpture, Drawing

Artwork Details
3 Egos
acrylic,watercolor, colored pencil on sewn paper
28"h x 43" w,

Payton received her MFA from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California in sculpture and painting.

Payton is making assemblages, sculptures and costumes from recycled objects combined with natural materials. Straw, stones, wood and fabric are the main materials of her current sculptural series. Models garbed in sculptural costumes are photographed in outdoor settings. The sculptures and models are icons or symbols of beings or entities and become subjects of drawings, paintings, collages, and photographs. In 2002, the artist received the New Jersey Print and Paper Grant from The Brodsky Center at Rutgers. She was included in the traveling exhibition, 100 New Jersey Artists Make Prints. During 2003, Payton branched into other media and co-produced and hosted a documentary series highlighting the work of New Jersey artists for Princeton TV 30, Vox Artis. She has exhibited in galleries and museums in California, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Mexico and New Zealand. Some of the collections including Payton's work are New Jersey State Museum, Jersey City Museum, Zimmerli Art Museum, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Hunterdon Museum of Art, Southeast Banks, Citibank of Florida, and Cleveland Clinic in Florida. Payton recently received the Art News Award from the National Collage Society at the Berman Museum show, Ursinus College.

She has taught painting, drawing, 2D and 3D design classes at Brookdale Community College, Ocean County College and high schools in the Midwest. Payton is currently teaching at the Arts Council of Princeton and West Windsor Art Center.

"Materials intrigue me," writes Donna. "The abundant variety of them - their shapes, surfaces, colors; their histories if they are old and discarded; their intended uses if they are new and unused. I select them because they resonate with recent and past memories of images and things. As we cannot experience things without benefit of time and place, the materials I select also reflect times and places familiar to me and their related experiential emotional and psychological aspects. During the physical process of joining recycled objects and materials - nailing, gluing, sewing, wiring - I am mentally cementing present items with the past images of memory they signify. In this re-recognizing of the essence of the materials, an inquiry is made into two required conditions of our existence: the nature of matter and the nature of relationships.

"There is much beauty and joy in the wondrous and sometimes strange state of being, but it is not devoid of the effects of human frailties and universal laws of time and decay causing human dramas. The sculptures, recalling the Surrealist maxim jamais vu (never before seen), become new forms constructed of banal and commonplace items. Placed in groups they become observers and participants mirroring human interactions dealing with the serious and often humorous predicament of existence. In the paintings and drawings, unreal and magical settings are created in which the sculptures further explore my portrayal of the enigma of life in its myriad situations from terrifying ambiguity, playfulness, exhilaration, to the sublimely ridiculous. All of reality is taken in and represented in a starkly aware yet dreamlike manner, droll but dangerous and always fleeting, as I feel the nature of being to be."

Donna will have a solo show at Abstract Expressions Gallery in Mt. Holly NJ September 7 through November 24.