A resident of South Beach for one year, David MacGougan has found the landscape and community of Lincoln County quite amenable to his studio practice. “It’s always raining, so of course I’m gonna be in the studio all day,” he says with a wry grin, quickly adding that even on rainy days he can be found standing on the beach. “The ocean has this amazing feel of ancientness, like you can feel the age of it rolling in with the gusts of wind. It’s a powerful experience, every time.”
Originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, MacGougan has more recently lived in Portland and Vancouver B.C. “Moving around has actually had a really positive effect on my work,” he says. “It forces me to adapt to different working spaces, which in turn spurs new processes of art-making. Now if I’m not rearranging the furniture or trying out a new material or technique every few months, I’ll feel like I’m in a rut.”
Variety seems to be very important to MacGougan’s process, as evidenced by the array of painting styles and subject matter around his studio. An intimate portrait, a colorful text-based piece, a heavily textured landscape, and an enigmatically comical mallard all share wall space, along with another dozen-or-so pieces of eclecticism. The rest of the work, however, jibes with a similar aesthetic, these being the gestural abstractions which have been his primary focus for the past two years.
“They’re basically about people.” He says of the abstract work, “They’re figures in motion, painted in such a way as to replicate the actions of the subject. It’s a really empathetic relationship I maintain with the subject while I’m working, trying to feel what they feel and translating that into the mark-making.”
When asked if the upcoming show will focus specifically on the abstractions, MacGougan replied “Oh, no. Featured certainly, but I do like to show all of my other little projects as well. I think it’s fun to share a bit of everything.”
David MacGougan received his BFA (magna cum laude) from Hartford Art School in 2003. His work has been shown nationally, and in 2013 was included in shows in Portland, New York City, and Chicago.
KINETASCOPE: Paintings by David MacGougan runs from January 10th to February 28th in the Upstairs Gallery of the VAC. An opening reception will be held the evening of January 10th from 5 to 7 pm.
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