Major Exhibition of Paintings – Huntsville Museum of Art
Thursday, November 7th, 2013
The Hobbit: Expulsion 2001 Oil on Panel
A major exhibition of my paintings, the largest ever held, will open this November 16th at the Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama and run through January 19, 2014. From Middle Earth to Outer Space and Beyond will be comprised of sixty-one works of art, ranging from my epic Gold Medal winning cover of Spectrum 13, Prometheus, to the emotional Hobbit: Explusion created for the graphic novel cover adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s story. Drawings, preparatory studies, and oil paintings will be shown and illuminate the creative process on projects from the US Postal Service Stamps to book covers for The Name of The Wind to personal projects like Search for Mother.
Construct of Time 1993 Oil on Panel
I cannot express how excited I am by this exhibition as it will showcase aspects of my career in a fulfilling and thorough manner, featuring major works from various stages of my development as an artist. The collection will be devoted to four themes: Middle-Earth, Mythological Realism, Science Fiction, and Space/Astronauts, with a room set aside for each. Many of the works on display have not left our family collection for exhibition in years while some have never left the studio! It will be thrilling to see a large body of work under a single roof, as the last such gathering occurred at the Palazzo Ducale in Lucca, Italy for the occasion of Lucca Comics and Games back in 2009, hosting 40 paintings. This show promises to be even more impressive with most of the art in a larger scale format from my recent oil paintings.
For those of you in the area, or who wish to make a trip, I will be on hand next weekend at the Museum for the opening reception held Sunday, November 17th from 2-4pm. Come out, take in some art, and say hello!
Psychohistorical Crisis 1999 Oil on Panel
Huntsville, Alabama has a long history with space science and is the home of the research and development of the Redstone Rocket, from which the United States’ space program was built upon. The area around Huntsville plays host to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, amongst other science research facilities. With so many scientists walking within the crowds, my work with science fiction illustration to recent images of astronauts should find a very warm welcome in this community.
My only regret is that we could not include many more works which reside in private collections around the world. Over the years I have shown my passionate visions to collectors and they have supported me generously with purchasing nearly all my major paintings. Someday I hope to bring those together, but that is another show! For now, I am happy to provide you with some sneak peeks with what will hang for a short but bright moment in Huntsville.
Lastly, to celebrate the occasion of this exhibit, I have created a work specifically for Huntsville, Awakening. Recalling my summers as a young child in Vermont, I will never forget laying about in grassy lawns, watching for satellites to pass over head and dreaming of what it would be like to voyage among the stars and walk on undiscovered worlds.
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Donato has released a revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.