J. Wan was born in Taiwan and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She
received her BA in Economics (Phi Beta Kappa) from Stanford University.
After a few years working in the corporate world, Donna decided to pursue her
love for art, taking her first photography class at a local community college in
2002. In 2008, she graduated from the MFA program at the San Francisco
Her work has been shown at the New Mexico Museum of
Art; RISD Museum of Art; Klompching Gallery; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts;
the Photo Center Northwest; the Newspace Center for Photography; Gallery 1401
at the University of Arts, and the Carte Blanche Gallery. She was a Magenta
Foundation’s 2007 Flash Forward Emerging Photographer, 2008 ArtSeen Emerging
Artist, PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch nominee and a 2012 Critical Mass Top 50 Finalist. In 2012, Donna also received an Honorable
Mention award for The CENTER/Review Santa Fe's Project Launch category and the inaugural
Scholarship grant. Most recently, Donna received The CENTER 's Gallerist Choice 3rd Place award and a Kolga International Photo Award.
Her work has been published in Fraction
Magazine; Flak Photo; PDN; Conscientious;
Time Out Chicago; Profifoto; Forward Thinking Museum; Beautiful Decay and Archivo and will be included in a book released by Chronicle Books curated by Joanne Dugan. W.M. Hunt and Virginia Heckert have also written about her
work. In 2009, she was awarded an artist residency at The Center for
Photography at Woodstock and was invited by Catherine Opie to lecture at UCLA.
Collectors of her work include the Pulitzer-Prize winning author Richard Ford
and Thomas Kellner. She is represented by the Carte Blanche Gallery in San Francisco.
Writings about her work include:
"Donna Wan’s In the Landscape
project successfully borrows a tradition from landscape painting, that of
19th-century Romantic painters’ introduction of a figure seen from behind to
lead the viewer into the scene, to depict a wide range of vacation and leisure
destinations. Elevated vantage points and less-than-ideal lighting conditions
introduce distancing elements that underscore the investigative nature of her
observation of individuals interacting with the landscape." - Virginia
Heckert, Curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum
"Donna J. Wan does literally put us
“In the Landscape.” How we look or how we see is at the heart of this work.
Man’s presence is important in this work because it provides us with a sense of
scale, the way in which we are dwarfed by the enormity of Nature. She gets it
right. Seeing from the photographer’s distant point of view we share that
smallness, like little specks of humanity, flies on the wall … of a
mountain". - W.M. Hunt
"We could not be more pleased to be awarding Ms. Wan the APA/Lucie
Scholarship. The judges all felt that Ms. Wan's work was a stunning and fresh
look at our world and the interaction the human form takes on our ever changing
planet." - Michael Grecco, APA National Executive Vice President