Exhibition has added dimension

Trying out their own virtual reality art exhibition at Gallery de Novo in Dunedin is Dunedin artist Ewan McDougall and Christchurch virtual realty expert Dr Claire Hughes. Photo: Linda Robertson.
Trying out their own virtual reality art exhibition at Gallery de Novo in Dunedin is Dunedin artist Ewan McDougall and Christchurch virtual realty expert Dr Claire Hughes. Photo: Linda Robertson.
A Christchurch virtual reality expert is helping to transport people to a psychedelic and colourful world at this year’s Dunedin Fringe Festival.

The "Unreal!" exhibition at Gallery de Novo displays Dunedin artist Ewan McDougall’s vibrant signature-style paintings, which are being brought to life by Christchurch virtual reality expert Dr Claire Hughes.

McDougall’s painted figures seemingly peel off the artwork and begin to move about a range of settings, including on a boat, which you too will find yourself also standing on, surrounded by glistening water.

It was a collaboration McDougall said he had no hesitations in entering when Hughes first approached him a couple of years ago.

"I immediately had the gut feeling — ‘yes, this could be incredible’.

"My figures, to me, look like they’re dancing a lot anyway and jumping about happily.

"Amazingly, now they are in the virtual world and when you get in there they are walking and running past you. I’m wonderfully amazed by it."

Hughes used life-size cutouts of the figures that feature in McDougall’s paintings, which McDougall made and painted on both sides, and spent thousands of hours creating the final product, she said.

Visitors can view the virtual art in a 2m by 2m section in the gallery wearing a virtual reality headset.

"Once you’ve got that on, you can’t see anything else but darkness... and then things start happening," McDougall said.

"People have loved it ... I’ve had some old friends from the ’60s say its very psychedelic. It’s very colourful."

About 20 paintings by McDougall are also displayed as a part of the exhibition, one of which, called Unreal!, was inspired by the virtual reality scenes.

The exhibition will be on display in Dunedin until March 31.

molly.houseman@odt.co.nz

 

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