Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands
Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL
3 August-3 November
From the Press Release
Peter Doig is one of the most highly regarded and internationally-renowned painters working today. The major exhibition at The National Galleries of Scotland is the first major exhibition of his work to be shown in the country of his birth.
This important international exhibition is a collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Montréal. Surveying Doig’s paintings and works on paper of the past 10 years, this exhibition places particular emphasis on the artist’s approach to serial motifs and recurring imagery. Formally spare yet monumental in scale, at times approaching the exotic in their subject matter, these works show Doig working at the height of his extraordinary powers.
Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art said: ‘Peter Doig has been one of the most consistently inventive and seductive painters working anywhere in the world today. His art is figurative and often based on photographic images, but the end effect is to take us into a completely different world of often hallucinatory power. The works reveal a transforming vision of the world, steeped in a sense of beauty and mystery, rich in their imaginative suggestion yet remaining grounded in the real.’
Doig first came to prominence in the 1990s with his paintings of winter landscapes, highly atmospheric scenes of lakes (often with a lone canoe), and houses screened by trees and ski slopes. The rich and layered surfaces of his paintings showed that Doig was as much interested in abstract, formal qualities as he was in subject matter.
Over the period covered by this exhibition Doig has split his time between a house and studio in Trinidad, a studio in London and a professorship at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. His peripatetic life, memories of a childhood partly spent in Canada and his later life and studies in London have given him a particularly rich visual knowledge. Regardless of where Doig’s motifs originate, his experiences cross-fertilize and enhance his works. As fellow Scot Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in The Silverado Squatters: There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign. Doig the traveller is not merely a foreigner seeking out the exotic; rather, he is like Baudelaire’s flâneur, whose eye uncovers and finds significance in details which transcend locale, while spanning both time and space.
Throughout a career of three decades, Doig has reinvigorated a medium considered by many to have fallen into irrelevance. His inventive style, uncommonly sensuous palette and suggestive imagery set him apart while his willingness to take up the challenges posed by the work of Gauguin, Matisse, Bonnard and Marsden Hartley places him in an ongoing dialogue with a long line of celebrated artists.