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"Cabin Essence": Peter Doig

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver
Jan 12 - March 11


Echo Lake (1998),
oil on canvas

The paintings of Scottish-born artist Peter Doig are better known in New York, Germany and England, since he has lived and worked in London since 1979. His themes, however, are very much North American, with an emphasis on the Canadian countryside and winter spots. His images appear to represent real people and particular landscapes, but they are only "samples" of the kinds of things we would expect to see in representational paintings. They are products of an information age that has given us a collective consciousness of art images in the Western world, and their sense of normalcy is induced by mass media exposure to reproductions. Doig has called his artwork "versions," as if they are variations on the theme of art history. This exhibit features nine major paintings from the 1990s. They are nostalgic in content; brightly colored; both high and lowbrow in referents; reflective, narrative and at times obscure. Imaginary scenes "set" in the wilderness reflect his boyhood memories of Quebec. Wayward humor, a sense of displacement and themes of exclusive resorts and sports combine to deliver unique and provocative imagery. "20 Questions - A Project by Matthew Higgs" will accompany the Vancouver exhibition and presents a unique opportunity to learn about Peter Doig's artistic process. A fully illustrated catalogue including essays by Matthew Higgs, Kitty Scott and Johanne Sloan has also been produced. The exhibition will subsequently travel to the National Gallery of Canada and then to Powerplant, Toronto.

© Mia Johnson