An exhibition of paintings by Ewan McDougall with Virtual Reality by Claire Hughes
Unreal! is a touring exhibition of twelve oil paintings by the Dunedin neo-expressionist painter Ewan McDougall, with figures and motifs ‘brought to life’ by the Virtual Reality phenomenon created by multi- media artist Claire Hughes.
The five city New Zealand tour opens on Friday 21 February, 2020, in Exhibitions Gallery in Wellington coinciding with the Opening of The NZ Festival of Arts. Ewan and Claire are very excited to be working with Ron Epskamp and his team in this unique, boundary crossing, creative venture.
Christchurch-based Hughes has recently completed a PhD in digital art at Massey University and when she suggested a collaboration, McDougall was immediately enthusiastic.
McDougall has collaborated with poet and playwright Sarah McDougall, with Epskamp and NZ musicians Greg Johnson and Barry Saunders, with the African American Jazz Composer Harold Anderson and with Bluesman Darren Watson, but he has never before collaborated with a Virtual Reality expert.
Hughes’ most recent exhibition, Entangled (2018), at Toi Pōneke Art Gallery in Wellington, was a solo exhibition with sound collaboration. This work featured an original 8 minute virtual reality experience which linked the virtual with the physical gallery space. Her 3D modelled animation, Matter matters (2017), was projected onto the water screen in Wellington Harbour for the Lux Festival with an estimated 100,000 -150,000 viewers.
Hughes has also elicited the sound expert, Isaac Lundy, who is doing a degree in music at Massey and who has worked with Claire on her previous projects. She describes her work with McDougall as “more than a 3-D reproduction of an artwork, it will use McDougall’s characters to create a new interactive experience.” Viewers will see the paintings and don a VR Headset and become immersed in the vibrant world of the figures as they cavort in virtual space.
Ewan McDougall’s vibrant and primitive figures, animals and hybrid creatures have been part of his exhibition history for thirty years in Aotearoa/New Zealand galleries, including five Public Art Gallery Exhibitions, and in exhibitions in London, Valencia, Cremona, Sydney, NYC and Shanghai, but he is particularly excited about this innovative venture with Hughes, where psychedelic cave figures will leap into life with cutting-edge technology.
The Unreal! tour commences in Exhibitions Gallery Wellington on Friday 21 February until 15 March.
The opening reception is from 5-7 pm Friday 21st February.