Works by Abby Donovan
on view in the North Gallery from June 7 - August 5, 2023

From June 7 through August 5, the Shirley Fiterman Art Center will present THE COLORS ARE LIKE WORDS THAT ARE NOT WORDS BUT COLORS. A solo exhibition by Abby Donovan, the installation is comprised of constructions of colored glass and large-scale imagery created by projecting through the stained-glass works. Donovan’s project delves into intricate interactions between glass and light and human perception, underscoring how these structure our comprehension of the world.

This installation is imbued with complex ideas about vision, optics, language and philosophy which Donovan distills into the jewel-like, three-dimensional objects resembling crumpled stained-glass cathedral windows and their large-scale projections. The resulting experience is of works that are simultaneously solid and ephemeral, magically static and fugitive. The relation between object and the transmission of light through it crates constantly variable discoveries that continually change.

The exploration of language has been fundamental to Donovan’s work overall and her indirect correlation of letters and colors have become more explicit in this body of work, which examines how each form basic building blocks to our comprehension of the world and the cosmos.

This is the first exhibition of Donovan’s glass compositions. Her works and collaborative projects, which reach across disciplines and employ innovative approaches that foster an open sense of creativity and cooperation, have been shown widely.


Frequently appearing as one of four members of artist collective 181, Abby Donovan has exhibited at a variety of national and international venues, including Locust Projects, Miami, FL; the National Centre for Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg, Russia; Unsmoke Artspace, Braddock, PA; Art Weekend Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia; Slingshot Festival for Experimental Music, Art, and Electronics, Athens, GA; High Desert Test Sites, Joshua Tree, CA; Bowery Art&Science, New York, NY; SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA; the Stockholm Fringe Festival, Stockholm, Sweden; the European Ceramic Work Center, s’Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; the Arthur Cravan Foundation in Milan, Italy; Derrick Cave, Lake County, Oregon; Novella Gallery, New York, NY; and a parade of sorts with Mission Street Arts in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. In July 2023 the 181 will participate in Volcanic Attitude, a contemporary art festival in Naples and Sicily, Italy. Donovan is a Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art and Design at University of Delaware. She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BA from Swarthmore College.


Installation photography by Cary Whittier