Meet the Artist - Prue MacDougall, printmaker

Posted by Erin O'Malley on

I met Prue MacDougall for the first time in the middle of last year. I was immediately taken by her passion and complete commitment to her chosen art practice - printmaking. 

Prue MacDougall studied printmaking at the Elam School of Fine Art, University of Auckland. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction in 1985 and was awarded the Auckland University Annual Prize of Excellence in Fine Arts in that same year.

Using the Intaglio printing process MacDougall creates wonderful whimsical tableaus. Her work draws its inspiration from the likes of Spanish artist Francisco Goya and the Portuguese printmaker Paula Rego. It's their application of chiaroscuro and theatrical drama as a means to evoke emotional response that primarily interests her. 

There is a wonderful sense of other worlds in MacDougall's prints. A sense of overlapping time, it is if we are looking through a macro lens at hidden worlds rich in meaning and history. The body of work titled 'Navigating Worlds' is a favourite of mine. 'The metaphors of body-as-map and world-as-body' Malcolm Burgess. Art New Zealand No 171 Spring 2019, are intriguing. The work below 'Queen Neptune' places the body of a women within the waters of the Southern Hemisphere. The beautiful carved comb in the shape of a ship, a vessel of exploration and exploitation has been taken from the waters and now holds her long swept up hair in place. The ship is now trapped within this womanly symbol of beauty and fertility. 


Elements of the natural world seem to be ever present in MacDougall's work. They appear to act as an elemental force - sometimes conspiring, playing, resting, nudging us towards an idea that we are entwined in a world that despite our assumed dominance we do not control. 

Prue MacDougall has two shows coming up at Railway Street Gallery + Studios this year. 'Leaf let' will be showing in the Lower Gallery - opening on Tuesday 8th August, and later she is part of a group show titled 'Small Holes in Silence', running from 31st October - 18th November. This exhibition features the work of 4 established printmakers. Kyla Cresswell, Nan Mulder, Catherine MacDonald and Prue MacDougall. We look forward to seeing you there.

Visit Prue's website

View her collection 

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