The 2018 PMA Biennial Spotlight: Jenny McGee Dougherty

The 2018 PMA Biennial Spotlight: Jenny McGee Dougherty

Over the course of the 2018 PMA Biennial, we'll be taking a closer look at the artists participating in the Biennial, beginning with Jenny McGee Dougherty. Want to know more about the works and artists in the show? Pick up the limited edition catalogue, featuring over 100 pages of interviews with the artists alongside beautiful reproductions of select works. On sale online and in the PMA Store.

One of the first works of art you encounter at the museum during the 2018 PMA Biennial is Debris, a massive mural at the entrance to the exhibition. Much like A Midsummer Night's Dream by Tim Rollins and K.O.S. or Mark Wethli's Transom, the work immediately defines the Selma Wolf Black Great Hall, and sets the tone for the exhibition within the Biennial's galleries. Debris is the latest large-scale work by artist Jenny McGee Dougherty, who painted it on site over the course of several days leading up to exhibition. Fortunately for McGee Dougherty, she had previous experience with works at this scale. 

"I started this body of work as a collage," she told us, "isolating colors and textures from found imagery within old magazines. When I was asked to do the mural in East Bayside (titled Selective Landscapes), it was a little daunting because I'd never done something that size, but also at that point I hadn't been painting the shapes, but rather relying on imagery that was produced by someone else. It led to another phase of this body of work where I am now strictly painting. This work has a terrazo thing going on—lots of composed fragmented pieces. I still think of all of them as selective landscapes."


Jenny has spent the majority of the last decade in Maine, having earned a BFA in Printmaking from Maine College of Art. The result is an artist with a deep connection to the state and its arts scene, including her love of Maine's rural artistic colonies in the western mountains and downeast. "There are a number of amazing residencies here too," she continues,  "Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Skowhegan, among others....For a mostly rural and off-the-beaten-path place we have a pretty happening art scene." 

McGee Dougherty's appreciation for off-the-beaten-path locales has not only informed her work and artistic practice, but inspired a lifestyle of travel, as she and her family have taken to traveling North America by way of Sprinter van recently. That experience, along with her continued love of Maine and the home she has built here, continue to feed her interests and push her as an artist. "I am interested in the intersection of humans and their environment, both natural and built," McGee Dougherty told the art site Tappan

"The repetitive use of public spaces and the marks that are made, both intentionally and unintentionally, over time, become a living record of the movements and actions of individuals collectively inhabiting this space. Within our understanding of the allotment of space, we often overlook the places that we use the most, while also dismissing these spaces as utilitarian or banal. When graffiti gets covered up with several shades of a neutral color, a new image and a new meaning becomes part of our landscape. I am interested in how these places that belong to everyone get woven together and how they evolve as metaphor." 

For more information about Jenny McGee Dougherty, visit her website. Looking to add McGee Dougherty to your art collection at home? Visit Tappan to view more.

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
January 22, 2018
Director of Communications

Graeme is a Maine native who, after ten years living in New York and the west coast, decided to come back and set up shop in Portland. In addition to the PMA, he's held positions at GQ, Rogues Gallery, and Might & Main. He lives in Yarmouth, where he spends most of his free time with his daughters, Ramona and Maude.