The Miami-based artist Pablo Dona is known for his whimsical and playful sculptures, displaying child-like imagination though amassing small toys and figures into elaborate assemblages and tableaus. This sculpture, 'The Coast (Sunday Afternoon),' is a delightful example of his work, inserting the social world of Florida into a fantasy of oversize teacups and confections. Dona said of his teacup sculptures:
"My grandma used to have tea and once she was finished, I would sit by the table and play with everything left on it. Through the magic of the eyes of a child, a teacup could be an ocean, a lake, or a pool. The macaroons or sweets were mountains and hills and with the sugar cubes I used to build walls and the list goes on and on, limited only by the imagination of a child. Today I approach the world in the same way; the only difference is that instead of my grandma's living room, the process takes place in the intimacy of my studio, but the eyes of that child are the same ones and the joy is always present."
Just as these teacups grounded his childhood play, the massive teacup grounds the sculpture: Atop, figures are at leisure as though at the beach or pool, sunbathing along the rim and floating in dinghies and rubber duckies on cerulean blue water. Around the base, figures lounge, work and fall in love alongside doughnuts, palm trees and vintage Volkswagen vans.
The attention to social narratives recalls the various social realist movements of the United States, by such varied artists as John Sloan and Paul Cadmus. Even more, the subtitle 'Sunday Afternoon' relates the sculpture to French artist Georges Seurat's magnum opus 'Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte' at the Art Institute of Chicago, which itself captures urban narratives during leisure time. The manner by which Dona appropriates plastic toys and figurines, however, firmly grounds him in the realm of contemporary Pop artists like Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami.
12 x 15 x 15 inches
Signed on bottom
Mixed media sculpture with integral acrylic case