Peter McDonald examines every intricate aspect of human behaviour in his painting. Pole vaulters, doughnuts, the cosmos, moon boot factories, ninjas, stretch limos, jungles, auctioneers, hairdressers, funeral processions, submarines, dog walking, museums, snooker players and cave painters. Nothing is immune to being McDonaldized in his exploration of the infinite nature of painting. Like a psychedelic Audubon or Dr. Johnson, he is gradually compiling an endless encyclopaedia of images.
Peter McDonald’s fourth solo exhibition at Kate MacGarry includes an eight metre long scroll painting, a mobile and seven new paintings. McDonald has created a mobile with each object a freeform, flat sculpture with pictures painted on both sides. This kinetic sculptural form, originated by Calder, allows different images to juxtapose themselves with each other, giving the viewer a kaleidoscopic experience of McDonald’s pictorial universe. This form moves painting away from the static, four walled canvas, and is closer to a diorama or picture book, where the viewer responds to and interacts with the images. Here, the mobile is its own unique collection of pictures in one object, akin to Duchamp’s Boîte-en-Valise or Warhol’s Big Retrospective Painting.
McDonald has also used the unusual format of scroll painting. Originating in China and Japan over two thousand years ago, this form has rarely been explored in Western art. Scroll painting requires the viewer to experience the work through time, either by gradually revealing the painting by hand or, in this case, by walking along a painting. McDonald has described the scroll as ‘an amalgamation of my whole painting world into one continuous strip’. He has conceived the scroll painting as an infinite painting that can continually be added to, its landscape revealing endless facets of human behaviour.
Peter McDonald was born in Tokyo in 1973 and lives and works in London and Tokyo. Recent exhibitions include Visitor, a year long exhibition and residency at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa in Japan and Winnebago, Carpets, Onsen, Potter at the Daiwa Foundation, London. In 2011 his work was included inTravelling Light, works from the Government Art Collection selected by Simon Schama at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. McDonald was recipient of the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize in 2008.