Donna Sharrett's mandala-like works stand as placeholders of memory. Through the assemblage of personal memorabilia, she unites past legacies to the present. She is the recipient of two fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as notable residencies and grants from Smack Mellon, the Bronx Museum and the Millay Colony. Her work has been widely exhibited including solo exhibitions at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York among others. Group exhibitions include Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Bellevue Arts Museum, WA; the University of Rochester, NY; and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York. Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Zimmerli Museum, New Brunswick, NJ; the U.S. Embassy, Valletta, Malta; The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, MO; Hebrew Home for the Aged, New York; JP Morgan Chase, New York, and Pfizer, New York.
My works are meditations on memory; where flowers, music and belongings serve as its repository, and are arranged within a numeric cadence inspired by the sacred geometry of Gothic cathedral rose windows, religious prayer beads, nature, and 6 & 12 string guitars. The circular forms and compositions reflect the seamless continuum of ritual that binds the past to the present, and the present to the future. Mirroring the Buddhist mandala form, the circular shape enveloped by the square background of the “Arrangements” characterizes the infinite within the finite. Nineteenth century memento mori hair jewelry and contemporary makeshift memorial shrines are referenced.
Clothing, jewelry and buttons are among the materials now used which join the ongoing repertoire of symbolically significant materials – rose petals, hair, rings, bone beads and handmade rose beads (inspired by a 13th-century recipe for rosary beads). Guitar-strings are used as a dedication to my brother, Scot Sharrett (1961-2001), as are the song titles chosen to name the works. A variety of needlework techniques are used, including hand sewing, quilting, embroidery, crochet and needle lace. I am indebted to the venerable needlework sorority that joins women throughout history and is found in every culture; where knowledge of stitches and patterns are taught in intimate gatherings and are passed from one generation to the next; a sorority which includes my mother and grandmother who taught me.