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Getting Into the Studio with Intent: Madeline Donahue on How Her Practice Blossomed

Madeline Donahue’s work functions on multiple levels. Her figurative paintings have a strong abstract presence that allow the shapes to create the narrative on the canvas. The figures depict sweet chubby babies in the midst of creating chaos. Funny and dark, filled with love and overwhelm, all these emotions grapple for center stage in her work.

Madeline was born in Houston, TX to an artistic family where she first learned that you can build and be a part of a community of artists. Encouraged by her mentors to move to the east coast Madeline studied in Boston and ended up in Brooklyn where she currently resides. In our talk, she shares how she started grad school soon after having children and how this ended up fueling her work.

She has exhibited with Public Gallery, Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, Field Projects and The Every Woman Biennial in Manhattan; Paradice Palase, Underdonk, and Greenpoint Terminal Gallery in Brooklyn; TJ Boulting in London and Elephant Gallery in Nashville, TN. Her paintings were included in Making (It) Work at California College of the Arts. Her debut Manhattan solo exhibition, Attachments, at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects was reviewed in Hyperallergic. She joined SHFAP with NADA Fair 2020. She has a limited edition screen print with Kayrock Screen Printing Brooklyn. She has been interviewed in Elephant Magazine and on the podcast Sound & Vision. Madeline is an upcoming artist-in-residence at Interlude Residency, was an artist-in-residence at The Wassaic Project in Wassaic, NY and at Byrdcliffe Artist Colony in Woodstock, NY.

She has an upcoming show at Praise Shadows Gallery in Boston, MA on view April 22-May 23.


-Growing up in an artistic family showed her how to build a community of artists

-Encouraged by mentors to move to the east coast

-Seasons as a structure to the year

-Being young and having a goal can be overwhelming

-Be uncomfortable

-Make work and let go of it

-Painted friends and family

-Lean into what we try to hid

-Finding something that is yours

-Starting with a joke

-Notecards close by to sketch quickly

-Each medium or joke has a different power

-2/D-3/D conversation

-Make one thing at a time

-She finished everything in a day

-Art History jokes

-Get to your studio ready to work

-Getting into the studio with intent

-Working with in restrictions

-Enjoy the time with your kids

-Don’t feel like you have to give up newborn time for your career

-Just keep doing something creative



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