Douglas Mcdougall is a geographer of the human face and psyche.
Charcoal-driven perceived notions bound to phrenological psychoanalytical surrealism is the method in which he records the life into his chosen subjects.
In his most recent series ‘A New God’, Theo (the bearded one) plays the Devil’s advocate out to confront new age society’s ails.
Like the anthropomorphic being Golem (from Jewish folklore), or modern day Frankenstein, he is mobilised, pushed out into the forum to confront the only God in man that can lead us through the ever perpetuating paradigm of life.
Inside and outside of who we are, what we achieve and what we do to one another as a the primary species.
The mark of man’s ‘ego’ has always set the terms, ploughed the patterns of education, construction of life and contradictory deconstruction within the human evolutionary pathways.
Is it not wisdom, imagination and willpower that is the only true God, and everything else is just that; everything else…
You are your new God.
‘by carving into the paper in a particular way, one can feel the power and the magic and the luck. The face is a mirror of the soul – for better or worse. Portraiture is my way of understanding and encapsulating the ongoing museum of human experience, to show who we really are, body and spirit’.
Douglas Mc Dougall learned how to draw as a child to pass the time while going in and out of hospitals with a blood disease. He spent countless hours in hospital wards trying to draw his surroundings, and the experience fueled his passion for art.
In his younger years, the 50-year-old artist used to do a lot of pen and ink illustration work during the night, after coming home from his day job, but eventually settled on charcoal as his medium of choice. He is currently based in Scotland.
Wound Man image from Claudius (Pseudo) Galen’s Anathomia – Source: Wellcome Library, London.
This figure, from a 15th century English anatomical manuscript, is an example of a ‘wound man’.
Figures like these can be found in a number of manuscripts and printed books produced in the 15th and 16th centuries.
This particular version is folio 53 verso from Anathomia by Claudius (Pseudo) Galen. It is captioned in Latin and the words do not provide any directions for treatment but merely describe the injury: for example, ‘penetration by a sword’ or ‘an arrow whose point has remained in the thigh’.
The weapons are shown as they pierce the body and here, the positions of the man’s internal organs are indicated.
The exact purpose of the wound man image is not known, but it might have served as a reminder of the injuries to which the human body is prone.
These typically range from blows to the head, to stab wounds and arrow piercings, sometimes even showing dogs or snakes biting the legs.
Preservation, an amazing series of American photographer and artist Blake Little, who is covering his models with honey and capturing them into dripping portraits, frozen in this golden sugar as in amber.
A fascinating project published in the book Preservation.
Well, he’s no Red Riding Hood and I’m no fox, but it certainly isn’t a dainty little knot in the middle of the face either.
The first born, with all the subtlety of a pubescent lad, confronted his sweet-natured mother with: “Always know when you’re on the horizon, Mom – your nose comes around the corner a block before you do.”
“Be careful of what you say, lad, that nose is hereditary – just like the ‘monkey toe’.”
And so it came to pass, that as he grew so did his proboscis.
On him it looks as noble and apt as on his grandfather, and perhaps many a male antecedent, as it is designed to offset the strong bones and jaw line of such men.
My mother had looked at this feature of mine in my teens with something akin to pity and told me she thought plastic surgery may do the trick.
Now, being a typically self-conscious teenager, I remember suddenly becoming painfully aware of this blight, which had until that moment escaped my scrutiny.
Thankfully, another trait asserted itself: as there was nought I could do about it, best ignore it and make the most of whatever assets there may happen to be.
So far it’s worked, as the subject has never been raised again. I choose polite company, of course.