Peter Doig's paintings have a tendency to disorientate us, even when they depict recognisable imagery such as figures and buildings. We are often plunged into an unreliable world of reflections, sometimes literally when we are presented with the icy lakes and watery depths that feature in paintings such as Swamped, 1990, and Window Pane, 1993, but more often in a metaphorical sense - the mirror image of memory or fantasy. Doig invites us to consider the status of the people, places and events that populate his pictures, whether they exist in private or public realms, in personal or shared experiences. The refuges and defences against nature often seen in Doig's work are a kind of visual corollary for such considerations. We might also see in them an artist measuring the gaps between thought and language, painting as an individual pursuit and a shared experience.
Knowing that Doig's childhood was spent partly in Canada and partly in Trinidad, and that in 2002 he returned to the island to live and work, might tempt us to read his art as being a remembrance of youth in the snow and a meditation on a past and present awash with warm Caribbean hues. Or we might think we've seen some of his images from particular movies. While Doig's paintings might lead us to biographical, literary or filmic detail, elements of theatre, or the art of the past - all of which may play a part in their development - they are however ultimately to do with the placement of pigment on canvas and the ways in which, through a variety of processes, the painted image attains a specific resonance, a condition that is beyond words.
Born in Edinburgh in 1959, Peter Doig now lives and works in Trinidad. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1994; the same year, he received the Prix Elliette von Karajan. In 2008 he was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize of the Society for Modern Art, Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Doig's forthcoming solo exhibition venues include Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2014 - 2015); this follows previous major solo presentations at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, touring to Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal (2013 - 2014); Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, touring to Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (both 2011); Tate Britain, London, touring to Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (both 2008); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2008); Museum der Bildenden Kunste, Leipzig (2006); and Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, touring to The Gallery at Windsor, Florida, and Art Gallery of Ontario (2005 - 2006).