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How "Into The Mysterium" came to be


As a child growing up on Miami Beach, Artist Michele Oka Doner discovered the wonders of the sea. In 2006 she discovered Professor Nancy Voss’ remarkable collection of sea creatures at the University of Miami’s Marine Invertebrate Museum. The result of their meeting is Into the Mysterium, a photographic journey through a collection of beautiful, captivating, but endangered oceanic creatures...not open to the public, now brought into the light so all can see.

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How "Into The Mysterium" came to be


As a child growing up on Miami Beach, Artist Michele Oka Doner discovered the wonders of the sea. In 2006 she discovered Professor Nancy Voss’ remarkable collection of sea creatures at the University of Miami’s Marine Invertebrate Museum. The result of their meeting is Into the Mysterium, a photographic journey through a collection of beautiful, captivating, but endangered oceanic creatures...not open to the public, now brought into the light so all can see.

Here, in lavishly beautifully photographs, see nearly 100 of the rarest, most wondrous, mystifying, and entrancing creatures brought into the light...presented in a unique boxed, accordion fold-out format, with a full sized visual poster. From rare starfish to now extinct corals, these invertebrates leave one gasping again at the extraordinary beauty and mystery of our world.  They represent creatures that may never be seen again as the oceans grow ever more polluted and as global warming wreaks havoc on these ecosystems. 

Beneath the waves covering 70% of the Earth’s surface are remarkable creatures— beautiful big whales, dangerous sharks, legions of phytoplankton—but also, perhaps least known, are these marine invertebrates who make up an essential part of marine life. At the University of Miami, Florida, artist Oka Doner came upon the one museum devoted to the study of Atlantic and Eastern Pacific marine invertebrates—with nearly one million specimens pulled from the Gulf of Panama, Caribbean, Florida Keys, and the eastern Pacific over the last fifty years. 

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Author & Artist, Michele Oka Doner and Museum Director, Nancy Voss


Michele Oka Doner is an internationally renowned artist whose career spans five decades. The breadth of her artistic production encompasses sculpture, furniture, jewelry, public art, functional objects, video, and costume, set design and books. Doner's work is fueled by a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world. She is well known for creating dozens of public art installations throughout the U.S., including the mile long A Walk on the Beach at Miami International Airport, seen by 40,000,000 travelers a year.

Represented by Marlborough Gallery, Oka Doner’s work is found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Musée des Arts Décoratifs (the Louvre), Victoria and Albert Museum, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Yale Art Gallery and Princeton University Art Museum and many others.

Awards include the Award of Excellence, UN Society of Writers and Artists; Pratt Legends; Artist in Residence, American Academy in Rome; New York State Council of the Arts Grant, and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from The University of Michigan.

Other books by her, or about her work include Michele Oka Doner: Natural Seduction (Hudson Hills Press, 2003), Workbook (Oka Press, 2004), HumanNature (Charta, 2008), and Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden, with Mitchell Wolfson Jr. (Feierabend 2005, Collins Editions 2007). Shaman’s Hut will be published by ReganArts in 2017.

 

Nancy Voss is Professor Emeritus and Director of the Marine Invertebrate Museum at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Key Biscayne Florida. 

 “The Museum is an internationally recognized CITES certified research museum for Atlantic tropical marine invertebrates. The collections, which have few rivals as to number, geographic and vertical ranges of Atlantic tropical species, are of exceptional value as research, teaching, reference and data resources because of their comprehensive nature…attracting the interest of leading specialists from around the world.  The Marine Invertebrate Museum plays a valuable and irreplaceable role in ongoing and future research and teaching in these fields. The museum currently collaborates with marine biodiversity projects of Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela, and others worldwide.”  

--Excerpted from Professor Voss’ essay found in “Into The Mysterium.”

Author & Artist, Michele Oka Doner and Museum Director, Nancy Voss


Michele Oka Doner is an internationally renowned artist whose career spans five decades. The breadth of her artistic production encompasses sculpture, furniture, jewelry, public art, functional objects, video, and costume, set design and books. Doner's work is fueled by a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world. She is well known for creating dozens of public art installations throughout the U.S., including the mile long A Walk on the Beach at Miami International Airport, seen by 40,000,000 travelers a year.

Represented by Marlborough Gallery, Oka Doner’s work is found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Musée des Arts Décoratifs (the Louvre), Victoria and Albert Museum, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Yale Art Gallery and Princeton University Art Museum and many others.

Awards include the Award of Excellence, UN Society of Writers and Artists; Pratt Legends; Artist in Residence, American Academy in Rome; New York State Council of the Arts Grant, and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from The University of Michigan.

Other books by her, or about her work include Michele Oka Doner: Natural Seduction (Hudson Hills Press, 2003), Workbook (Oka Press, 2004), HumanNature (Charta, 2008), and Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden, with Mitchell Wolfson Jr. (Feierabend 2005, Collins Editions 2007). Shaman’s Hut will be published by ReganArts in 2017.

 

Nancy Voss is Professor Emeritus and Director of the Marine Invertebrate Museum at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Key Biscayne Florida. 

 “The Museum is an internationally recognized CITES certified research museum for Atlantic tropical marine invertebrates. The collections, which have few rivals as to number, geographic and vertical ranges of Atlantic tropical species, are of exceptional value as research, teaching, reference and data resources because of their comprehensive nature…attracting the interest of leading specialists from around the world.  The Marine Invertebrate Museum plays a valuable and irreplaceable role in ongoing and future research and teaching in these fields. The museum currently collaborates with marine biodiversity projects of Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela, and others worldwide.”  

--Excerpted from Professor Voss’ essay found in “Into The Mysterium.”

Video Preview "Mysterium" Book


> See the creatures unfold

Video Preview "Mysterium" Book


> See the creatures unfold

Praise for "Into The Mysterium"


"A banquet for your eyes to feast upon. Not only are Doner's pictures exquisitely captured, but the prose she creates is poetically carved with such intelligence that it is beautiful to read as well. A long foldout adventure for the eyes. I would recommend this for anyone who appreciates the unique and complicated miracle that is life in the ocean and those who enjoy this artistic style, which is nature photography at its finest."  Kathleen, GoodReads.com, May 6, 2016

"For nearly all of her 91 years, my mother loved the sea. If she were still alive...I'd bring her the exquisite boxed accordion book of Michele Oka Doner’s mermaid-magical color photographs, Into the Mysterium." Mindy Alof, Washington Independent Review of Books

"Wow, this was no ordinary book. First the pictures clear and inviting so lively and wondrous, spoke volume(s), (the) volume of our ocean creatures, specimens. marine life." -- Darlene Cruz, GoodReads.com

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Praise for "Into The Mysterium"


"A banquet for your eyes to feast upon. Not only are Doner's pictures exquisitely captured, but the prose she creates is poetically carved with such intelligence that it is beautiful to read as well. A long foldout adventure for the eyes. I would recommend this for anyone who appreciates the unique and complicated miracle that is life in the ocean and those who enjoy this artistic style, which is nature photography at its finest."  Kathleen, GoodReads.com, May 6, 2016

"For nearly all of her 91 years, my mother loved the sea. If she were still alive...I'd bring her the exquisite boxed accordion book of Michele Oka Doner’s mermaid-magical color photographs, Into the Mysterium." Mindy Alof, Washington Independent Review of Books

"Wow, this was no ordinary book. First the pictures clear and inviting so lively and wondrous, spoke volume(s), (the) volume of our ocean creatures, specimens. marine life." -- Darlene Cruz, GoodReads.com

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Where to See and Hear


From events this Fall...

Where to See and Hear


From events this Fall...

Wide View-Mysterium Talk_IMG_3537.JPG

BOOKS AND BOOKS CORAL GABLES with author, critic and curator Alastair Gordon

LITERATI BOOKSTORE - ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN OCTOBER 25TH with UMMA Assistant Curator of Photography Jennifer Friess

LITERATI BOOKSTORE - ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN OCTOBER 25TH with UMMA Assistant Curator of Photography Jennifer Friess

INTO THE MYSTERIUM ON THE RADIO:   T. Heizel interviews Michele about "Mysterium" on her "Living Writers" podcast series from WCBN-FM Ann Arbor.  Click here for free Podcast

INTO THE MYSTERIUM ON THE RADIO:   T. Heizel interviews Michele about "Mysterium" on her "Living Writers" podcast series from WCBN-FM Ann Arbor.  Click here for free Podcast

Recent Press


Recent Press


Excerpts from Michele Oka Doner's essay from "Into The Mysterium" appeared in the Miami Herald online 11/12, and in print 11/20/2016. Above excerpted layout from the Miami Herald highlights Oka Doner's book, one of three chosen. For full article click here 

Excerpts from Michele Oka Doner's essay from "Into The Mysterium" appeared in the Miami Herald online 11/12, and in print 11/20/2016. Above excerpted layout from the Miami Herald highlights Oka Doner's book, one of three chosen. For full article click here