Peter Doig, born in Edinburgh in 1959, is an artist best known for his conceptual often abstract landscapes. Made up of formulated layers of paint, his work harks back to the paintings of nineteenth century artists including Monet and Munch.
As a small boy Doig moved with his family to Trinidad and then, a few years later, to Canada. In the late seventies he came to London to study at Wimbledon School of Art, then at St Martin’s School of Art and finally at Chelsea School of Art, where he received his MA. Doig described his return to Canada in the 1990s as a conscious effort to discover his own approach to painting. Although many of the landscapes he painted during this period depict classic Canadian snow scenes, the images are not direct representations of his experience but rather constructed realities drawn from his imagination. Doig wants his work to be considered more as ‘an imaginary place – a place that’s somehow a wilderness’.
Doig’s inclination to depict scenes from unexpected angles and use unusual colour combinations both contribute to a sense of him attempting to capture moments of pure tranquillity juxtaposed with eerie otherworldliness. Perhaps the best known example of this effect is the series of paintings of l’Unite d’Habitation – the modernist communal apartments built by Le Corbusier in Marseille – which Doig painted during the 1990s.
Shortly after graduating in Doig was awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Artist Prize, culminating in a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. In 1993 he received first prize at the John Moores Exhibition for his painting entitled ‘Blotter’. In 1994 he was nominated for the Turner Prize. A year later he was made a trustee of the Tate Gallery – a role he continued in until 2000 when he was invited to Trinidad to take up an artist’s residency with his friend Chris Ofili. Doig was among those exhibited in The Triumph of Painting at the Saatchi Gallery in 2005. Two years later Doig’s painting White Canoe sold at Sotheby’s for $11.3 million. At the time this sale was the highest recorded for any living European artist. In 2008 Tate Britain exhibited a retrospective of his work. In September 2012 he was honoured with a solo exhibition of new work at the Tate. He currently lives and works in Trinidad.