Peter Doig

By Ziolkowski, Thad | Artforum International, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Peter Doig


Ziolkowski, Thad, Artforum International


GAVIN BROWN'S ENTERPRISE

Peter Doig has been lauded for his quietly mysterious, gauzily nostalgic landscapes executed in an eclectic range of styles, sometimes within a single work. Bringing to mind rigorous types like Gerhard Richter and Jeff Wall, as well as softies such as Richard Diebenkorn and David Hockney, Doig's crowd-pleasing canvases remain resolutely neither here nor there. It's curious and a little heartwarming that, in this pluralistic but nonetheless sectarian moment, there's a niche for such an artist (especially a painter). Yet, based solely on this show of four large paintings, in which Doig seems to have stitched out the hookier narrative threads of his earlier work, it's hard to see what all the fuss is about.

Country-rock (wing-mirror) (all works 1999) is a layered landscape of the ambivalent, half-bucolic, half-industrial Andreas Gursky variety: titular wing mirror and highway in foreground, guardrail and tunnel in middle ground, lush small town in background. It is a snapshot from a car trip. One is left shifting from foot to foot in anticipation of an epiphany that's never going to occur. Now, this, the moment when it all adds up (or is on the threshold of adding up), might be precisely what Doig is withholding. There's often a grainy, the-drugs-are-kicking-in atmosphere in his otherwise bland scenes-weird colors are everywhere (a powdery, nearly Naples yellow highway; a muted chartreuse sky)- but in this case, "the pills," as Ted Berrigan once wrote, "aren't working.

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