CK Contemporary

Gayle Donahue

“Unexplainable outcomes, bad luck, spilt milk, the deal-breaker, the ‘what-if’, the epiphany, and the way these things are viewed and remembered, write my imagery. They define my superstitions.”

(American, b. 1955)

Gayle Donahue is a Los Angeles based artist who creates captivating mixed media works on paper and panel. She aims to capture “singular moments of consequence” in her work, the small spaces in time that may seem unimportant, but later have great significance. She cites poetry as a large influence in her process, explaining that poems often convey the impression of a moment. When describing the ability of poetry to convey the curious and enigmatic, Donahue explains, “consider one bird from the lost lands of e.e. cummings, the footloose elegy of Carl Sandburg, the female perspective of the confessional Ann Sexton”. 

She uses an assortment of material within her work from vintage elements to handwritten notes. She also uses paint, pencil, and pen on the surface of her work, and her finished collages are often multi-layered with unique details. Her artwork explores perception, with its variety of materials acting as pieces in a puzzle, coming together to form an image that is familiar and yet distant. Donahue’s complex compositions convey themes of memory, nostalgia, and chance, reminding us of the “unpredictable nature of circumstance”. 

Donahue graduated from UCLA. Subsequently, she studied at the ArtCenter College of Design and worked as a free-lance illustrator for many years. Her art has been featured in several solo shows as well as numerous group exhibitions. She is currently a professor at ArtCenter in Los Angeles, and has taught courses at UCLA, as well as Otis College of Art and Design.