Peter McDonald’s paintings depict a colourful world inhabited by people engaged in everyday activities. Images of teachers, scientists or hairdressers are constructed with an elementary graphic language. They have a cartoon-like simplicity and waver at the point where figuration might tip at any moment into abstraction. Human forms veer towards the geometric: circles stand in for heads, flat planes describe rooms and crude poses denote narrative. Yet these simplifications appear to create a community of super-humans living in a world that has a harmonious transparency.
McDonald’s perfunctory use of paint and high-key colour creates a convergence of illusory space and graphic flatness that is easily separated or recombined; in one instance a slew of expressionistic mark making becomes a crazy, free-standing sculpture. By making use of archetypes, symbolism and our irresistible tendency to make the strange readable, this alternative world operates like a parallel universe, with a very familiar logic and practices. This utopia may be a vision of an ideal world in the future or a simplified and optimistic version of the one we already know.
Peter McDonald, born Tokyo 1973, lives and works in London.
Recent exhibitions include: East International, Norwich Gallery, UK, solo show, Keith Talent Gallery, London, Moving Collection, Govett Brewster Gallery, New Zealand, all 2003.
2004: Painting, Kate MacGarry, London.
Autumn 2005: solo show at Gallery Side 2, Tokyo.