This article, “Maverick Maine Painters on the Web,” from Yankee Magazine’s website, was written by Matt’s longtime friend Edgar Allen Beam on April 9th, 2008.
I’ve known Matt Donahue since he was known as Magic Matt, the most prolific scorer in Westbrook (Maine) High School and University of Southern Maine basketball history. Matt always had two great loves, which he continues to pursue: basketball and painting. In high school, he specialized in portraits of sports heroes (something he still does on occasion to earn a little money), but I tend to think of Matt as the Picasso of the suburbs. His little studio above a garage in South Portland is jammed full of wildly imaginative and extremely colorful figurative abstractions that owe an obvious aesthetic debt to the greatest painter of the modern age, while somehow managing to remain pure Matt Donahue.
Many of Matt’s paintings have religious themes (I own a wonderful painting of the Holy Family), but they run the emotional gamut from celebration to lamentation. There are people who own dozens of Donahues; some now own nothing but. As Matt’s work exists on its own outside the established art scene, you can see it only at his studio, at J.P. Thornton’s cafe in South Portland, and online.