Donna Troy Cleary


Donna Cleary's interest lies in traditional healing practices.  A descendent of Irish Healers on both sides of her family, she reclaims knowledge that was scrubbed from her familial consciousness.  Donna's adult life started as a Registered Nurse working in a major teaching hospital in Boston, in clinical research.  After 13 years, she left nursing to raise two children while studying and making art.  In 2010 she returned to school, studying undergraduate art and then received her MFA in Fine Arts in 2014.

Coming full circle, she is now studying herbalism, focusing on the belief systems, rituals, ceremonies and objects that accompany medicinal vehicles.  Her objects, videos, photographs and social practice reflect the accompaniments of the ancient Healer, Wise/Wild Woman, Shaman, Witch.  Cultural anthropological investigations restore and affirm this inherent power centered around the domestic space.

Engaging with concepts of labor, gender and desire, Donna's work questions perceived boundaries between instinct and cultural construct.  Foucault's heterotopic spaces are engaged as her work hovers between the physical and psychological, external and internal, past and present, mythic and real.

Guided by instinct and necessity, mistakes, chance, and the accidental become part of these playful explorations that hover between pathos and humor. 

"I see the wise woman... From her shoulders, a mantle of power flows.  A story band encircles her forehead.  She stitches a quilt; she spins fibers into yarn; she knits; she sews; she weaves.  She ties the threads of our lives together..."

Healing Wise, Susun S. Weed