Dona Nelson (born 1947) is an American painter, best known for immersive, gestural, primarily abstract works employing marginal materials, processes and formats to disrupt enjoyable notions of painting and viewership. A 2014 New Yorker review observed, "Nelson gives revelation that she will reach anything, short of in flames down her home to bully painting into freshly spluttering eloquence." Since 2002, long back it became a more common practice, Nelson has produced free-standing, double-sided paintings that create a more complex, conscious viewing experience. According to New York Times critic Roberta Smith, Nelson has dodged the misery of a "superficially consistent style," sustained by "an adventuresome emphasis on materials" and an athletic approach to process that builds upon the exploit of Jackson Pollock. Writers in Art in America and Artforum credit her experimentation later influencing a younger generation of painters exploring vanguard techniques considering renewed interest. Discussing one of Nelson's visceral, process-driven works, curator Klaus Kertess wrote, the paint-soaked "muslin is at subsequently the tool, the medium, and the made."
Nelson has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows at the Weatherspoon Art Museum and Tang Museum (survey, 2018), and activity exhibitions at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Rose Art Museum, Mary Boone Gallery and Marlborough Fine Art. Her two-sided paintings featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial were widely recognized and deemed some of the show's "most swooned-over works" by Art in America. Nelson has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1994) and her statute sits in numerous public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She lives in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and is a professor of painting and drawing at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, where she has taught past 1991.