My art results from a lifetime of careful observation of natural phenomena and from a desire to see beyond superficial appearances. I prize drawing over other art disciplines not only for the directness with which it can convey deliberate intent but also for its ability to reveal subtle manifestations of the subconscious. My regular choice of the charcoal medium provides me with an extreme range of value – the blackest of blacks to the palest of grays – while retaining the possibility of recording the most delicate kinesthetic movements. Color is an important part of my life but it is used selectively as something to enhance a graphic idea or, enthusiastically, to celebrate a retinal feast. Work is often initiated in response to my immediate environment, sometimes by contemplation of the sublime and occasionally by wordplay. I try to keep my drawings honest, getting the most out of simple 2D materials. Imagery in my work results from many influences. Studying art at a time when Pop Art had seemingly undermined decades of pictorial tradition, I dealt with many new options of format, media, concept and expression. In the 60‘s psychological interpretations and perceptual studies dominated the contemporary art world and ‘shock effect’ became a popular appliance. I absorbed a lot of that but a natural contrariness in my makeup continues to urge me to pursue obscure and unpopular pathways in my art. When social justice issues predominate, I’m involved in ‘sleep study.’ When graffiti and gesture concerns seemed paramount, I was into precisionist representation or pursuit of some historical model.
A parallel passion in my life is that for classical music. A comprehensive collection of recordings dating back to the inception of recorded sound and the experience of hundreds of live symphonic and operatic performances provide inspiration and feed my imagination. I welcome viewers to speculate beyond what is conspicuously evident in my work.
Don Dugal was born and educated in Detroit when automobile culture, devotion to beer and frantic suburban expansion were at their zenith. He received a BFA in Painting from Wayne State University studying under professors David Mitchell and Robert Wilbert and then found his way to the state of Hawai’i where after studying with professors Ben Norris and Ken Bushnell, he received an MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Hawai’i Manoa in 1969. Successful exhibitions in Honolulu prompted him to stay on in Hawai’i where he initiated a 41-year career of teaching Painting, Drawing and 2D Design at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Significant solo exhibitions include those at the Contemporary Museum in 1980, 1994, 1999, and at the Honolulu Academy of Art (now the Honolulu Museum) in 1983 and 2007. His work is in the collections of the Hawai’i State Art Museum, the Honolulu Museum, the Honolulu City Arts Commission and the Springfield, Illinois, Arts Commission. He was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts in 1999 and several commissioned works by Dugal may be found at the Hawai’i Convention Center and the Honolulu City Medical Examiner’s Office. He retired from the University of Hawai’i in 2010, and in 2011, after careful research, chose Pittsburgh as a home.
Born: Detroit, Michigan 1942
B.F.A. Wayne State University 1965
M.F.A. University of Hawai’i 1969
Employment: Lecturer in Art
University of Hawai’i at Manoa 1969 - 2010