Large scale paintings; textured, vibrant and full of life. The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Peter Doig, which recently opened at Courtauld Gallery, shows a small collection of works by the esteemed painter.
The show is a reflection of Doig’s transition from his life in Trinidad, where he lived for 20 years, to London, where he has recently opened a studio. The exhibition presents paintings made in both locations, some of which were even started in Trinidad and reworked and completed in London. As such, the works are a glorious mix of nostalgia, memory, longing and melancholia.
The exhibition showcases Doig’s distinctive style – figurative, substantial, with lots of texture and markings. Some of the works feel almost as if they are still in progress. Doig often paints from photographs, yet still allowing memory and imagination to influence his scenes. Of his paintings he says ‘I never try to create real spaces – only painted spaces’. However, the works feel very real – there is a sadness to them, the sense of a lost moment.
One work that stands out in the exhibition is Canal (2023), a scene depicting a young boy at the side of Regent’s Canal: fried eggs sit on a plate on the table and a boat glides by as dark skies loom over head. The exhibition literature reveals that this painting originated as a birthday card made for the artist’s son, reformed and enlarged up to it’s current state. Here, we see further examples of the artist’s inspiration and process.
Peter Doig at the Courtauld Gallery is a must-see for anyone interested in contemporary figurative painting. The only downside being it’s scale – just two small rooms. A more comprehensive exhibition would allow audiences to fully immerse themselves in Doig’s unique practice. Despite this, the exhibition is a fascinating insight into the artist’s life – a beautiful reflection of change, place and reminiscence.
Peter Doig at Courtauld Gallery is sponsored by Morgan Stanley and supported by Kenneth C. Griffin, the Huo Family Foundation and the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne. The exhibition is showing until 29th May, more information and tickets are available here.
Review by Amy Melling
Amy is a Curator and Creative Producer whose practice is centred around community-led arts projects. Her current research is focused on curatorial methods for exhibiting artworks outside. Amy has a keen interest in the arts and recently completed an MA in Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL.
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