London – Peter Doig: “Early Works” at Michael Werner Gallery Through May 31st, 2014

May 23rd, 2014


Peter Doig, Burger King (1984), all images courtesy Michael Werner Gallery

On view at Michael Werner Gallery in London is a show from Scottish painter Peter Doig that explores his earliest works, even ones from his student days at St. Martin’s College in London, when he was still finding his voice as a painter.  Included alongside some of the artist’s most iconic and important artworks from his first years of widespread success, the show is an intriguing study into Doig’s continually shifting and specific stylistic tendencies.

Peter Doig: Early Works (Installation View), all images courtesy Michael Werner Gallery
Peter Doig: Early Works (Installation View)

Born in 1959 in Edinburgh and raised in Trinidad and Canada, Doig attended St. Martin’s College starting in 1979.  “It was a great time to be studying painting,” he has said of his time in school and the works here show evidence of an enthusiastic, free-thinking and uninhibited time. When the students were going to travel to Italy, for example, Doig says that he immediately began researching Italian art and responding to it in preliminary drawings even before they had left the UK.

Peter Doig: Early Works (Installation View)
Peter Doig: Early Works (Installation View)

The works here explore this enthusiastic approach to Doig’s surroundings and experiences in full measure.  Throughout his early career, he makes frequent reference to pop culture, yet always with a nod to tradition – a reflection of his schooling in art history. Doig is known for his energetic, colorful and multi-referential works, often inspired by travel, cities, and spaces. “Art is work…and work is fun,” says Doig. He reveals with this exhibition the successes and the failures and many of the experimentations that led him to find who he is today.

Peter Doig, Rome School (1985)
Peter Doig, Rome School (1985)

By the late 1980s, Doig’s work reached a consistency, best characterized by his landscape “At the Edge of Town” (1986-88), but he would continue to refine his surrealistic and idiomatic style throughout the next two decades. He became internationally recognized in the early 1990s, and since then, has achieved status as one of the most influential painters of his generation.

Peter Doig, Night Riders (1982)
Peter Doig, Night Riders (1982)

Peter Doig: Early Works will remain on view through May 31, 2014.

Peter Doig, Contemplating Culture (1985)
Peter Doig, Contemplating Culture (1985)

—E. Baker

Related Links:
Exhibition Page [Michael Werner Gallery]