Doug Fath

Doug Fath

Madison, Wisconsin


I am a working artist who moved to Wisconsin in 1992 after receiving my MFA from the University of Illinois - Chicago, with a focus on photography. My work has varied throughout the years, starting with large photo installations, abstract charcoal drawings, small black and white oil paintings, and drawings, to more recently using color to make surrealist paintings. In my work I explore personal pain and social issues.


Artist Statement

My paintings investigate pain and difficult situations through representation and allegory. With influences ranging from Frida Kahlo to contemporary painter Jammie Holmes, I work in a Surrealist style to explore questions and emotions that arise as I navigate through life. Drawing inspiration from encyclopedias, folk art, scientific drawings, old sourcebooks, photographs, and images that I have collected, I begin my process by making preliminary sketches. After I have refined an idea, I loosely transfer a drawing to the painting surface. While I may execute an idea faithfully, more often I work intuitively, allowing the images to change as I proceed. I also prefer to use color in unconventional and evocative ways. Animals appear frequently in my paintings. They may possess known mythical qualities or represent a particular trait or feeling state.

While each work relates to a personal experience, my paintings allude to universal themes of pain and loss, in an attempt to connect with the viewer. I create art to heal, to help me cope, and to survive. While my work is an honest expression of subjective experience, the imagery allows for multiple interpretations––I always appreciate hearing what others see in my work and how it relates to their own lives. Art elicits emotion and can help us relate to one another and I believe there is no more universal experience than pain as it transcends any socially constructed categories.

Doug Fath, Curse of the Bower Bird, 2023,
25" x 25", Acrylic on canvas