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Peter Doig

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"People often say that my paintings remind them of particular scenes from films or certain passages from books, but I think it's a different thing altogether. There is something more primal about painting. In terms of my own paintings, there is something quite basic about them, which inevitably is to do with their materiality. They are totally non-linguistic. There is no textual support to what you are seeing. Often I am trying to create a "numbness." I am trying to create something that is questionable, something that is difficult if not impossible, to put into words."

Peter Doig, 2001, 20 Questions by Matthew Higgs in Peter Doig
Published by Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia.

Peter Doig's paintings have a tendency to disorientate us, even when they depict recognisable imagery such as figures and buildings. We are often plunged into an unreliable world of reflections, sometimes literally when we are presented with the icy lakes and watery depths that feature in paintings such as Swamped, 1990, and Window Pane, 1993, but more often in a metaphorical sense - the mirror image of memory or fantasy. Doig invites us to consider the status of the people, places and events that populate his pictures, whether they exist in private or public realms, in personal or shared experiences. The refuges and defences against nature often seen in Doig's work are a kind of visual corollary for such considerations. We might also see in them an artist measuring the gaps between thought and language, painting as an individual pursuit and a shared experience.

Knowing that Doig's childhood was spent partly in Canada and partly in Trinidad and that over five years ago he returned to the island to live and work, might tempt us to read his art as being a remembrance of youth in the snow and a meditation on a past and present awash with warm Caribbean hues. Or we might think we've seen some of his images from particular movies. While Doig's paintings might lead us to biographical, literary or filmic detail, elements of theatre, or the art of the past - all of which may play a part in their development - they are however ultimately to do with the placement of pigment on canvas and the ways in which, through a variety of processes, the painted image attains a specific resonance, a condition that is beyond words.

Born in Edinburgh in 1959, Peter Doig now lives and works in Trinidad. A professor at Düsseldorf State Academy of Art since 2005, Doig has had major solo exhibitions at Tate Britain (2008), touring to Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Dallas Museum of Art (2005), Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich (2004), Bonnenfanten Museum, Maastricht (2003) and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1998). Doig was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004.

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Web Links
Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin
Victoria Miro, London
Gavin Brown’s enterprise
Michael Werner, Cologne, New York
Peter Doig on wikipedia
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