Temple artist Michael Donahue’s paintings have a lot to unpack, both in their frames and in the stories outside, which the easy-going painter will happily unroll if he’s on hand. .
Donahue, 68, is the longtime chairman of the art department at Temple College, and his 15-work “Perspectives” exhibition running through February at the Susan L. Sistrunk Fine Art Gallery offers insights polished by a lifetime of travel, art and writing. It also connects him to Sistrunk, who studied art with him at Temple College.
The works on display, mostly oils, span approximately 40 years of painting and illustrate Donahue’s global travels, wit, and social commentary on his subjects. “I like to make people think,” he said during a visit to check out the exhibit’s installation. “And I paint things that move me. I try to be original; I try to be different.
Original and different are among the mantras he has for his art students and “Perspectives” fits the bill with oils from three decades ago to works completed during the COVID-19 shutdowns. “The pandemic has been horrible for artists: no exhibitions, no gatherings for a year,” he said.
Her square canvas “A Prostitute Eats a Big Mac – Billions and Billions Served”, with its provocative perspective of a leggy woman in a fishnet hose, flanked by an American flag and the golden arches of McDonald’s, is a both original and different. . So does the story of its inspiration: the image of a Parisian stroller wearing bright yellow boots, a pink jacket and an umbrella, trying to do business on a cold, rainy day.