The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 4, 2008


Gleason Library exhibit frames artist’s inner emotions

Artist Jonathan Donahue describes the “Ethereal” exhibit currently on display at the Gleason Public Library through August 30 in his artist statement near the main entrance.

At the Gleason Library, artist Jonathan Donahue stands before his “Apparition” at the left. On the right is a poster version of the work. (Photo by Anne Marie Brako)

The artist, a licensed psychotherapist who works several days a week in his Medford office, understands the multiple layers of the human psyche, and he calls this exhibit “personal.” This word appears rather misty as a framed light box encloses the statement, and casts spots between and among the words. As a result, the viewer may misread the word as “paranormal” the first time around, particularly as the piece of art framed nearby – in its own box – bears the name “Apparition.” The printed image appears in large poster form beside the box. Double and layered meanings are trademarks of Donahue’s artistic technique, which Carlisleans may have seen in the summer of 2002 when the artist first exhibited his pastels at the Carlisle library.

The Gleason exhibit contains about 25 works placed on the first and second floors of the library. There are several types of multimedia pieces in the exhibit: object collages, 3-D photograph frames and shadow boxes that play with light.

Donahue calls the boxes “unusual creations” and describes them as “essentially 3-D montages.” You lean into the boxes to peer at layered figures such as witches, trees and clouds, and your combined movement with the images’ application of color and light seem to dance before your eyes. When asked how he creates the shadow boxes, the artist calls it a “secret.”

You can try to get Donahue to share his method with you at his artist reception on Saturday, July 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Gleason Library. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito