Artist Profile: Dugald MacInnes

June 7, 2018

Visiting artist Dugald MacInnes brings a unique scientific sensibility to his work and his teaching, embodied by the stratiform construction of his mosaics. In his own words, “it was always the rocks” that informed his artwork, and at Chicago Mosaic School he teaches students how to work with the unique properties of the capricious and rugged material of his native soil: Scottish slate.

Born in Glencoe, a volcanic valley in the Scottish highlands, Dugald (or Dugie, as he is affectionately known at CMS) grew up amidst tectonically dramatic landscapes that inspired a lifelong interest in geology and nature. He studied mosaic murals and design under Scottish mosaicist George Garson at the famous Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 1975. However, unsatisfied with investigating the materiality of stone through art alone, he pursued further study in geology and field archaeology at Glasgow University. In his artwork, aesthetic expression and scientific expertise unfold in tandem though incredibly precise manipulation of brittle materials, and meditative compositions that evoke seismic phenomena.

Favoring an abstract and highly geometric aesthetic, Dugald’s works nonetheless clearly echo geological constructs through clever arrangements of tesserae that mimic sedimentary strata and showcase natural color variegation caused by mineral deposits in the stone. His deep connection to his materials is present at every stage of his work; he personally collects, washes, and cuts the slate by hand. “I attempt to express my feelings, my knowledge, my passion for all things geology; the overwhelming nature of the forces that have formed and continue to form our planet, yet, paradoxically, the fragility of the Earth’s crust, its dynamic and sometimes destructive nature.”

Dugald is Internationally acclaimed and has exhibited throughout the United States, Japan, his native UK, and continental Europe, including as a two-time prize winner at the International Mosaic Exhibition in Chartres, France. In the past year, his work has been featured in over eight joint and solo exhibitions in the United States, France, Italy, Scotland, and Greece and this year he will return as a featured CMS artist at the Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics. He is a member of both the British Association for Modern Mosaics (BAMM) and the International Mosaic Association (AIMC).

In Dugald’s returning CMS workshop “Mosaic as an Expressive Art Form,” he shares these lifetime passions for geology and archaeology- entwined with a forty-plus year career as a mosaicist- with students eager to learn about the unique properties of slate and other stone materials from a true master. At the heart of his work and his teaching is a deep respect for the natural properties and expressive potential of rugged stone in a contemporary idiom, and finding ways for the most primordial of substances to speak for today.

If you would like to take a workshop with Dugald MacInnes, please click the link to view dates for this summer and enroll.

Written by Grace Walsh

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