Biography: Influenced by Surrealism, Dadaism, and film and advertising imagery, photographer Karen Dugas creates digital prints and monumental tableaus. Born in Cornwall, Ontario, she earned her B.F.A. from Queen’s University in Kingston (1979) before receiving her M.F.A. from the University of Alberta (1982). She taught printmaking as a sessional instructor at the University of British Columbia (1982) and silkscreen, lithography, etching, collagraph, and linocut at the University of Alberta (1982 - 1990).
Dugas’s exhibition The Eternal Return explores nature, history, and anthropology inside a context of personal mythology. It’s a gigantic, Alberta bushscape in which seasons change across the wall-to-wall expanse populated by life-sized nude women whose gestures imply ancient rites. Dugas says she wants “to create allegorical works which question notions of personal identity as well as our collective relationship with the natural world.” Other works use intaglio plates with enlarged, traced- and shaded-over details from photographs of models and maquettes against industrial backgrounds. Dugas’s mixed media print series Re-membering Ueno juxtaposes details of one of Tokyo’s oldest neighborhoods with quotations from writers, philosophers, and psychiatrists that have inspired her.
Dugas’s prints have won acclaim inside and outside Canada, including at many major print biennials and solo exhibitions, such as those at Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (1987) and Vienna (2009). She’s won ten awards including the jury prize at Ljubljana’s 16th Biennial of Graphic Art (1985), the Superior Class prize at Seoul Fifth International Print Biennial (1986), and a Juror’s Commendation Award at the Edmonton Print International (2008). In March, 2010 Dugas undertook a month-long residency at the Guanlan Original Printmaking Base, Shenzhen, China.
She lives and works in Tofield.