| Don Dougan|
born Portland, Oregon, USA BFA Atlanta College of Art
MFA Georgia State University
Don first began carving soft stone and wood as a teenager before he went to university and majored in sculpture. His stone carving techniques were primarily self-taught even in college because at the time none of the faculty worked in the medium. He began exhibiting his work in 1971, averaging between four to five group exhibits per year, and a solo or two person exhibit every few years.
Don began teaching in Atlanta when asked to do so shortly before his graduate degree was completed. He has taught sculpture and design classes at several area universities, including the Atlanta College of Art and Georgia Perimeter College. In the last couple of decades he has been repeatedly selected as faculty for the University of Georgia in the Studies Abroad Program in Italy. In the Cortona studios he teaches stone carving and bronze foundry, and works as an Artist-in-Residence. The most recent of his eight working semesters in Tuscany was in Fall of 2005.
Also in 2005 Don was invited to again teach stonecarving to Finnish art students in South Carelia Polytechnic, where he also taught the year previous. The carving students worked in the stone quarried near the city of Imatra in eastern Finland.
His work is comprised of both abstracted and figurative imagery. The pieces are executed in variety of materials — often mixed — with stone being a predominate medium. Other materials used in conjunction with the stone include foundry cast metals, carved and joined wood, cast and fabricated plastics, cold-worked and kiln-formed glass, coldcast and carved resins and cements, cast/formed handmade paper, welded/fabricated metals, gilding, and found unique objects.
The abstracted imagery is worked into pedestal pieces, large freestanding sculptures, and in wall-mounted reliefs. The figurative lip series is usually presented in either wall-mounted reliefs, though occasionally appears as either a pedestal piece or a large freestanding work. Don’s most recent series of work is series of Stone Boats, which is comprised pedestal-sized pieces using the imagery of the ship or the boat hull. This series delves into emotional journeys through explorations of personal and cultural memories.
Most of Don’s sculptural work is done at his own indulgence, that is to say that he follows where the work leads him — exploring those intuitive territories that hold an interest for him. Occasionally though, Don will accept a commission and create a work apart (or perhaps a bit more orthodox) in nature. A recent commission was a memorial wall in an Atlanta synagogue, Beth Tefillah, using aluminum, stainless steel, etched glass, and electric illumination.
Don feels each series or each type of work allows different types of understandings of the human condition to be expressed. The more abstracted works tend to reveal a metaphorical and rational characterization of subject matter, while the lip series allows him a much more visceral expression — including a persuasive sensuality and an ironic humor.
A wide selection of the range of Don’s work, informative and illustrated discussions of the technical processes and working philosophies, up-to-date list of exhibits, and much more can be found on Don’s non-commercial website: www.dondougan.com and you can find his insights and comments about art on his blog fromthedust.tumblr.com