Peter Doig is a Scottish artist. Born in Edinburgh in 1959. Since 2002 he has lived in Trinidad.
He studied fine art at the Wimbledon School of Art, St Martin’s School of Art and Chelsea School of Art, where he received an MA.
In the mid-1980s, he lived and worked in Montreal (Canada).
In 1993, Doig won the first prize at the John Moores exhibition with his painting Blotter. This brought public recognition, cemented in 1994, when he was nominated for the Turner Prize. From 1995 to 2000, he was a trustee of the Tate Gallery.
A professor at Düsseldorf State Academy of Art since 2005, Doig has had major solo exhibitions at Tate Britain (2008), touring to Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Dallas Museum of Art (2005), Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich (2004), Bonnenfanten Museum, Maastricht (2003) and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1998).
In 2007, his painting White Canoe sold at Sotheby’s for $11.3 million, then an auction record for a living European artist.
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. 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 over five years ago 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.