I believe in the ability to transcend the original state and meaning of things. -- Brandon Donahue
Well-known for his public murals throughout Tennessee, Donahue centers his practice on the reinvigoration of found objects. Nashville-based Donahue built a practice grounded in street art, pop art and Arte Povera. No Look Past, a play on no-look pass, features Donahue’s Basketball Blooms, mandala-like sculptures made from basketballs that carry a history of games they’ve seen, the puddles, pavement and hands through which they’ve passed.
He slices the basketballs open, through leather and rubber, and arranges them into wall hangings, four feet in diameter, that resemble flowers. Mixing and matching various textures, sizes and designs, Donahue sews these pieces into flowerlike forms with shoelaces. Donahue is intentional in his repurposing. Basketball means a lot to him, and he taps it for cultural and aesthetic significance.
Included in this exhibition is a row of basketballs balancing on tree trunks. The balls are styled with rows of tight braids, fuzzy mohawks and other hairstyles. The leather spheres make a playful comment about connections between black identity and black hair.
Donahue was born in Memphis. Before receiving his MFA, Donahue spent a year at the Lorenzo De Medici School of the Arts in Florence, Italy. He has had recent solo exhibitions in Nashville at Vanderbilt University, Oz Arts, and Seed Space; Wrather West Kentucky Museum, KY; and Athica Institute for Contemporary Art, Athens, GA; and numerous group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. He has received numerous awards, honors, grants, and residencies, and his work is in the collections of nexAir, Memphis; Tennessee State University, Nashville; The University of Tennessee Knoxville, Ewing Gallery, Knoxville, TN; and Toyota of Franklin, TN.