Oregon Coast Council for the Arts celebrates the New Year and the VAC’s 30th anniversary with a delightful show titled “Kinetascope: Paintings by David MacGougan,” where the artist plays upon Thomas Edison’s early motion picture device, a kinetoscope, in which the film was passed behind a peephole for viewing by a single viewer.
Many viewers at the VAC will enjoy peeping at MacGougan’s whimsical characters pursuing their peripatetic pitter patter. Variety seems to be very important to MacGougan’s kinetascopic 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 other dozen or so pieces of eclecticism.
The rest of the work, however, jibes with a similar aesthetic—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.”
A resident of South Beach for a year, 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.”
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.