Nathaniel Donnett

Artadia Awardee

I am interested in the study of human behavior and the psychosocial conditions that shape them. My work is rooted in Dark Imaginarence, a term I have coined that conceptually and formally tie together social critique, the poetics of the everyday, and African American creative cultural expression. It is a polyrhythmic or interdisciplinary working and poverty class approach to art making and culture producing, or perhaps culture investigation situated in the African American experience and imagination.

Some of my interests have been concerns of existential migration, African American music forms, pyschosocial impact on self and society, Black imaginative space potentiality, othering, reflection, vernacular aesthetics, and the standards of beauty and intelligence critique. These concerns oscillate between notions of possibility, present day observations, and memory. Navigating through these non-linear points of space-time, I approach these conflicts and intersections in a multifarious manner using different materials and practices. I work in installation, drawing, experimental sound, novice video, performance, sculpture, and community, social, and participatory engaged projects. These various approaches allow me to seek and gain a greater understanding of self, society, and the human condition with an understanding that these things remain in flux and are not static.

Nathaniel Donnett lives and works in Houston, Texas and studied at Texas Southern University. Donnett is the founder of the website blog Not That But This. He is currently the recipient of the 2015 Idea Fund /Andy Warhol Foundation Grant and a 2015 Houston Downtown Vehicular Wayfinding Signs Project public art commission. He has also received the 2014 Harpo Foundation Grant, 2011 Houston Arts Alliance Established Individual Artist Grant, and the 2011 Idea Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation Grant. He has exhibited at The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum, Kansas City, MO, The Theresa Hotel, Harlem, NY, Harvey B Gantt Art Center for African American Arts and Culture, Charlotte, NC, The Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury CT, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX, Redline Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, Texas Southern University Museum, Houston, TX, The New Museum, NY, NY, The National Museum in Lima, Peru, and The Modern Museum of Peru, among others.