Peter McDonald

11 Sep 2021–16 Oct 2021


Kate MacGarry is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Peter McDonald. McDonald’s sixth exhibition at the gallery consists of large and small-scale paintings on canvas and works on paper depicting gallery openings, Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre and people wearing masks.

To coincide with the exhibition the gallery has published a limited edition newspaper booklet designed by Åbäke, London, featuring a conversation between Peter McDonald and Andrew Maerkle, a writer based in Tokyo.

AM: Your use of head-halos and scenographic depth establishes an ouroboros-like relationship between the different elements that constitute the painting. Surface becomes background becomes surface, interior becomes exterior becomes interior, and scene becomes pattern becomes scene again.

PM: The experience of looking at a painting is one of entering into the imaginative realm while at the same time being aware that it is just paint on a surface. It often reminds me of watching the Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre, where the puppeteer and his black-clad helpers (the Kuroko) are clearly visible manipulating the puppets and yet one's mind suspends its disbelief to enter the story being enacted.

AM: How much of yourself do you put into your works? Or are your works a way of opening yourself to multiple identities?

PM: Being from two cultures has given me a particular perspective on identity. I never feel I am either Japanese or British. There’s always an element of being on the outside looking in, which influences the way my paintings depict social situations. The figures allow me to express what I find humorous, frustrating or strange in everyday life. It’s often the mundane aspects of life which come across as the strangest when spotlighted in a painting.

Peter McDonald was born in Tokyo in 1973. He lives and works in London and Tokyo. Recent exhibitions include Sampo, Gallery Side 2 & void + gallery, Tokyo, 2021; This, That and the Other, Dio Horia, Greece, 2018; Mushrooms of Language, Kate MacGarry, London, 2017; Roppongi Art Night, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2016; Making and Unmaking, Camden Arts Centre, London, 2016; Winnebago, Carpets, Onsen, Potter, Daiwa Foundation, London, 2013, Visitor, a year-long residency at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, 2011–12 and Kaleidoscopic Revolver, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea and Beijing, China, 2009. In 2017 McDonald was awarded a fellowship at the British School at Rome. London Underground commissioned Art for Everybody, a large-scale billboard installation at Southwark station in 2009 and in 2008 he won the John Moores Painting Prize.

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