Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Peter Doig

I went to London today for a meeting and took the opportunity to go and see the Peter Doig exhibition at the Tate - something I've been meaning to do for a while. It seemed wrong to be inside on such a sunny say, but it was worth it - the show was fantastic. I came away itching to paint (if only I had the time).

Peter Doig's work is an advert for the continuing validity of painting. And not only is it a big 'Yes!' for painting, it is a big 'Yes!' to the image in painting. Peter Doig paintings are very much about paint and the quality of the painted surface, but he actually paints recognisable things. He works from photographs a lot, but not in a photorealistic way.

Doig is fascinated by reflections. I remember a trendy art teacher coming to my school and getting us to draw a pile of boxes - but not the boxes themselves, she insisted: the spaces between the boxes. We all thought she was mad, but I suspect Doig would have got what she was on about straight away. He often paints the spaces between things and leaves the things themselves as vague ghosts. There's a real poetry in this.

So much of what is important in life, good and bad, happens in those spaces between things.

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