Peter Doig has long been a favorite painter of mine so when I heard his paintings were coming to The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts I was thrilled. His unapologetic painterly approach to painting and beauty in an art world infatuated with irony and dystopian concepts is as refreshing as a slash of red cadmium across a dark painting. He breathes life into painting like no other contemporary artist I know. His work sings, hums and dives deep into your belly and stirs you from the inside out.
There is a dream-like, ethereal quality to the work that allows you to suspend yourself in another realm. You feel an inward shift as you follow the nonlinear abstractions and shapes which say so much more than rationality and logic are able to convey.
There is a deep understanding and acknowledgement of the great 20th century painters who came before. There are nods to Gaugin, Rothko and Matisse amongst others but all churned and filtered through the artists own neurons. These former masters are internalized by Doile and moved forward into a unique and contemporary understanding of how to fill the canvas with paint.
Each painting appeares deceptively simple, distilled down to its core essence.
However, when you see all the sketches, studies, prints and obsessive ponderings behind the different artworks you realized that the artist often spent years on a single painting.
In Doig's own words, " “A painting is a living thing,” when asked how he knows a painting is finished. “It’s finished when it’s let go, when it’s out the door. I’ve realised what I like in other artists’ paintings is when they’ve been left open and not shut down. I’m learning to do that.”