Artist Ewan McDougall dons a VR headset to view his work in a new way at Quiet Dog Gallery. Photo: Kate Russell.

New way to view artwork


A virtual party is taking place at Quiet Dog Gallery. It’s a wild party where colourful and bright stick-figure paintings come to life – and all local art lovers are invited.

Renowned Dunedin artist Ewan McDougall’s touring exhibition ‘UNREAL!’ is taking place at the Wakatu Square gallery until 3 October.

Viewers will be able to view the oil paintings through a VR headset at Alert Level 1, an element that was added in collaboration with multimedia artist Claire Hughes.

They are enhanced even further by music from sound artist, Isaac Lundy.

“I’ve done collaborations before, but never quite like this,” says Ewan.

Known for his spontaneous and exuberant style, he started painting at school when he was 11 but didn’t pick up the paintbrush again until he was 40.

“I studied law and politics, but when I went back to painting, it turned my life around.”

Gallery owner Gill Starling says it’s an art exhibition with a difference.

“His characters leap and dance. It feels like they almost walk right through you. It’s lovely when an artist like Ewan shows in smaller cities such a Nelson.”

She says, while Covid-19 has “thrown a spanner in the works” and people cannot wear the VR headset just yet, they have videos playing in the gallery to show people what it looks like.

“While the country waits to drop down a level, people can still enjoy Ewan’s spirited paintings. The whole gallery is full of energy, colour and fun.”

‘UNREAL!’ runs until 3 October at Quiet Dog Gallery, 33 Wakatu Lane, Nelson.