2014-19 Ph.D. (Practice-led Research in Sculpture) candidate, School of Art and Design, Australian National University.
1993-95 Master of Creative Arts (Sculpture), University of Wollongong, Australia.
1986-87 Associate Diploma Visual Arts (Design in Wood), Canberra School of Art, Australian National University.
1975-79 Bachelor of Science (Honors in Botany), University of New South Wales, Sydney.
2008- Professor, California College of the Arts, San Francisco.
1997-09 Chair of the Furniture Program, California College of the Arts, San Francisco.
1997-07 Associate Professor, California College of the Arts, San Francisco.
1994-96 Head of Furniture Design, Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide, Australia.
1988-94 Self-employed furniture designer and maker, Australia.
1983-86 Freelance botanical researcher and illustrator. Clients included the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra and CSIRO, Canberra.
1979-82 Botanical researcher and illustrator. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia..
Selected honors and awards
2019 Materials-Based Research grant, Center for Craft, Creativity and Design.
2016-17 Antarctic Artists and Writers Fellow, U.S. National Science Foundation.
2014-17 Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian National University.
2014-17 Research Fellow, Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art.
2006 Inaugural Education Fellow, For-Site Foundation, San Francisco.
2002 Virginia A. Groot Foundation Award.
2001 SECA Experimental Design Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
1999 Professional development grant, Visual Arts and Crafts Fund of the Australia Council.
1994 Professional development grant, ACT Arts and Special Events, Canberra, Australia.
1993 Australia Council residency, Green Street Studios, New York.
1990 Traveling grant, Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra, Australia.
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, Canberra, Australia.
1987 Craft training grant, Visual Arts and Craft Board of the Australia Council.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Museum of Art and Design, New York.
Museum of Fine Art, Houston.
Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Alameda County Arts Commission.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Wollongong City Gallery, Australia.
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.
Selected solo exhibitions
2019 Noise/Signal, School of Art and Design Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
2014 Pareidolia. Vessel Gallery, Oakland, California.
2013 Artifact and Translation. Foyer Gallery, School of Art, Australian National University, Canberra Australia.
2011 aWay station. Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin, California.
2009 Genius Loci. Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, California.
2003 Permutations. John Elder Gallery, New York.
2001 Experimental Design Award. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Correspondence. Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart, Australia.
Empty Vessels. John Elder Gallery, New York.
1995 aGROUND. Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide; Canberra Contemporary Art Space; and Wollongong City Gallery, Australia.
Selected group exhibitions
2018 Artifacts: Allied Craftsmen of San Diego. Oceanside Museum of Art. San Diego., CA.
2017 Bartram's Boxes Remix. Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA.
2016 Bartram's Boxes Remix. Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, PA.
2015 Objects from the permanent collection of Decorative Arts & Design, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.
Bartram's Boxes Remix. Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin and The Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts, Highlands, North Carolina.
Expanding Dimensions: CCA 2015 Faculty Exhibition. Oliver Art Center, Oakland.
2014 Re:Collection. Museum of Art and Design, New York.
Bartram's Boxes Remix. Center for Art in Wood. Philadelphia.
2013 Landscape: Near and Afar. Vessel Gallery, Oakland, California.
Origins: Elemental Forms in Contemporary Sculpture. Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, California.
2012 Almost out of the Woods. Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco.
CCA Faculty Exhibition, Oliver Arts Center, Oakland.
Vessel 8: Charting the Waters. Vessel Gallery, Oakland.
Where are you going, Where have you been? The Lewis Gallery at the Portland Public Library, Portland, Maine.
The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock.
2011 The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Asheville Museum, North Carolina.
traces. threads. surfaces. aMuse Gallery, San Francisco.
The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Milwaukee Art Museum.
Breaking Ranks: Human/Nature. Headlands Center for the Arts.
Family Tree – Fine Woodworking in Northern California. Petaluma Art Center.
2010 The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft. Fuller Museum of Craft, Boston.
2008 Permanently MAD: Revealing the Collection, Museum of Arts and Design, New York.
Bay Area Now 5, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.
2007 Shy Boy, She Devil, and Isis: The Art of Conceptual Craft, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
CCA at 100: Innovation by Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
CCA Sculpture Selections, Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco.
2006 The Sensuous Curve, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco.
2005 Convergence, Oceanside Museum of Art, San Diego; San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design; and SOFA, Chicago.
Metaphor and Magnitude. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
2002 . . . and Extreme Pattern, John Elder Gallery, New York.
Visual Perspectives: 14 Years of the Virginia A. Groot Foundation, Groot Foundation Space, Chicago.
2001 SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art), Armory, New York.
2000 Form Follows, Design Gallery, University of California, Davis.
1998 lights-ON, John Elder Gallery, New York.
SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art), Navy Pier, Chicago.
1997 Design Australia: Westweek 1997, Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles.
1994–6 SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, and Functional Art), Navy Pier, Chicago.
2017 Rubies, School of Art and Design Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
2012 Opið Hús, Bær Art Center, Iceland.
1998 The Somatic Object, Dr. Earl Lu Gallery, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore.
1997 The Somatic Object, National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan.
1994 Art of the Object (Craft Australia touring exhibition of South America), Montevideo; São Paulo; and Santiago.
2007 Integration: The Nature of Objects, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney.
2005 Transformations: The Language of Craft, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1997 The Somatic Object, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney.
1996 New Furniture, Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide.
South Australia: Crucible of Design, Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre, Adelaide.
1991–2 The Light Fantastic, Canberra Contemporary Art Space; Distelfink Gallery, Melbourne; and Sturt Craft Centre Gallery, Mittagong.
Selected professional experience
2018 Invited artist, World Word Day 2018, Phnom Penh and Siem Riep, Cambodia.
2016-17 Artist in residence, IceCube Neutrino Observatory, South Pole, Antarctica
2014 Artist in residence, Arctic Circle Residency, Svalbard Archipelago, Arctic Circle
2013 Artist in residence, School of Art, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
2012 Artist in residence, Bær Art Center, Iceland
2011 Artist in residence, Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin, CA.
2009 Artist in residence, College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, Sydney
Artist in residence, School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
2006 Artist in residence, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, Colorado
2001 Artist in residence, School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
1997 Emigrated to the United States
1995–6 Research and travel in the United States, including artist in residence at the Australia Council’s Studio, Green Street, New York (4 months)
1991 Churchill Fellowship. Research in Japan and the United Kingdom (7 months)
1982–3 Traveling and working in Japan (19 months)
Selected bibliography (reverse chronological)
Gina Fairley. "Call of the World: Extreme Artist Residencies." Artshub online, February 2018.
Benjamin Austin. "Donald Fortescue: Arctic Visions.” Glance. Spring 2015.
Kate Smith. "Exhibition Review: The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft," The Journal of Modern Craft, vol. 4, issue 3, 2011
John Lavine. “Donald Fortescue: Crafting a Sense of Place,” Woodwork, no. 111, 2008
Stacy Martin. “Doing It Naturally,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, July 16–22, 2008
Maria Porges. “The Sensuous Curve,” American Craft vol. 66, no. 5, 2006: 74–75
Glenn Adamson. “Donald Fortescue,” American Craft vol. 61, no. 3, 2001: 56–59
John Kelsey and Rick Mastelli, eds. Furniture Studio: The Heart of the Functional Arts, Furniture Society, 1999: 30
Sue Rowley, Ed. Craft and Contemporary Theory, Allen and Unwin, 1997
Norris Ioannou. Masters of Their Craft, Craftsman House, 1997
Jenny Zimmer, Ed. Contemporary Craft Review 1: Collected Essays on Issues and Themes in Contemporary Craft, Craft Victoria, 1996: 21–23
Christopher Fortescue. “aGround: A Review,” Object vol. 2, no. 95, 1995: 17–18
Anne Outlaw. “Re:furnishing Memory,” Broadsheet vol. 24, no. 3, 1995: 23
Grace Cochrane. The Crafts Movement in Australia: A History, UNSW Press, 1992: 399–400
Ken Lockwood, Ed. Artfile, Craft Arts International, 1992: 290–91
Richard Raffan. “Design for Living,” Craft Arts no. 19, July–September, 1990: 64–66
Selected published writing (reverse chronological)
"At the Edge of the Natural: Scientific and Artistic Research at the South Pole," Unnaturalism issue, Art+Australia, 5.2018.
“What Does It Take to Make It in the USA?” in Shifting Foundations: The Collected Papers of the Designing Futures Forum, Craftwest, Australia, 2003.