Donna Marcus Transformation

Title: code-xiv-122-cm-h-x-122-w  Photo Roz MacAllan

Donna Marcus is an Australian artist whose work is frequently inspired by objects that have been taken for granted as kitchen gadgets. Most of the objects and utensils she transforms have outlived their original usefulness. Some of the components are instantly recognizable whilst others become compelling sculptures that are such an intelligent reworking of found and garnered materials that they take you a moment or two to decipher any original purpose.

I am drawn to her work on various levels, as sculptures in the media of assemblage and for such an evocative use of domestic objects of which I am very familiar and fond of.

Donna resides in Queensland with a studios on Mt Tamborine and in Brisbane. Her art training was undertaken at the Tasmanian School of Art, more background can be found on her website.

Title: Plat du jour (after Escher)195 h x 170 w x 10d cm Photo Donna Marcus

The kitchen has been a great source of inspiration and some tools and appliances may have outlived their usefulness and ended up at garage sales but Donna has put them to work in another guise. At the same time her clever adaptations helps us preserve the memory of many family gatherings. I obtained one of these very same fish moulds over thirty years ago, alas it has only been used once. I made a salmon mousse in the tropical summer, certainly not one of my best ideas – unless you live in a fully air-conditioned house. Her ‘Plat du jour’ brings back memories of my pink mousse oozing in a most unappealing way under the Queensland sun.

Title: 360 degrees  Photo: Roz MacAllan

Abstraction inspired again from the back of the kitchen cupboard.  The title 360 degrees refers to the oven temperature (before Australia changed to metric measurements) and 360 indentations.

Hearts on mirror in Donna’s bedroom Photo: Roz MacAllan

Marcus is more familiar with op shops than art material suppliers. She frequents auction houses or anywhere there is likely to be household objects. Once again I have two of these heart-shaped cake tins but I am happy to say they have been used regularly in our household to more positive effect than the fish moulds.

More of yesterdays treasures –  colourful anodised  ashtrays Photo: Roz MacAllan

‘Slither’  Photo taken outside studio window: Roz MacAllan

Title: Slither-160-cm-w-x-120-cm  Photo: Donna Marcus

‘Slither’ mounted for exhibition, it totally transforms the original reading of the objects.

Photo: Donna Marcus

This beautiful shape was derived from a humble citrus juice squeezer and as been the inspiration for many more sculptures created in a range of sizes. Some have been cast in bathroom quality (industrial) ceramic and traditional sculpture material of bronze.

Title:   Photo: Donna Marcus

Donna’s website link is at the end of the post. There will see macroscopic bronze versions in vast public areas.

Title: Dissolve 120-h-x-192-w  Photo Donna Marcus

Another skilful composition of a re-purposed collection of lids.

Title: Earthed  Photo: Donna Marcus

Can  you guess what these objects were in a former life.

If you are visiting the city of Brisbane look for Steam, it was the first major public artwork by Donna Marcus. 7,000 aluminium vegetable steamers were cast to build 15 aluminium spheres comprising 2 large spheres @ 2488 mm diameter and 13 small spheres @ 1303 mm diameter. Not hard to locate, they are scattered randomly in the plaza area of Brisbane Square.

Steam was based on Fall, an earlier work made of vegetable steamers. These works referred to the geodesic domes of 1940s architect and inventor, Buckminster Fuller. The company Cheras was engaged to fabricate 7000 steamers; Queensland Spinners pressed 480 plates; a hole-drilling machine created a million holes; and Everything Metal bolted the plates together and welded the steamers in place.

Title: True north canopy 3  Photo: Donna Marcus

The small city of Mackay in Queensland acquired several of her large-scale works this year.

Title: Big red and white blue water trail  Photo: Donna Marcus

Title: Blue water trail pieces Photo: Donna Marcus

Find out more about Donna Marcus and her work on her website.


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  1. #1 by Glenda on October 17, 2012 - 11:20 am

    Hi Roz. I love seeing the familiar in unfamiliar circumstances …

  2. #2 by Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial on October 17, 2012 - 11:30 am

    Roz, thank you! I loved this post and Donna’s pieces, especially the fish and Slither. Very, very cool! xx

  3. #3 by malcolmenright on October 18, 2012 - 12:52 am

    Thanks Roz (et John),
    LOve Donna’s work and your take on it,
    mal E + Bh

  4. #4 by Spoon Feast on December 2, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    So many ideas! Love this woman’s work! Thanks for sharing.

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