Peter Doig: Paintings review

4 out of 5 stars
Peter Doig: Paintings review
Peter Doig 'Lion in the Road: Sailors' (2019) © Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York an d London.

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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After decades of fuzz, fug, fog and gloom, there’s some clarity peeking out of Peter Doig’s work.

The Trinidad-based Scottish painter has built a massively influential career out of clouding his works in a haze of dreamlike mist. He paints visions of childhood, nature and obsession that are barely there, like half-forgotten memories.

This new series of canvases features the same images and scenes he showed here a year or two ago: the yellow wall of a prison, the lion of Judah, a strongman in his trunks, a man with a guitar. But the fog, somehow, has lifted. You can see the strongman’s eyes and lips, there’s neon pink in the lion’s mane, the lines of that yellow wall are sharp and bold.

It’s a bit of a shock, really, suddenly seeing what’s going on beneath the blur, like thoughts coalescing after a long, deep sleep.

One image shows a bright orange spear-fisherman in a green boat against a purple sea, a girl in a yellow mac sat opposite him. It’s the brightest, most vibrant Doig’s ever been.

Downstairs, things are a bit foggier, but a moonlit beach scene is a shock of brightness, the strongman stands on burning sands.

There’s still mystery here, and the tricks of memory still flicker in Doig’s work, but it’s like he’s finally figured out what it all means, it has all become clear. Now it’s just us left grasping in the dark for meaning.


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