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'Fontana', Peter McDonald

A painting of a person with a transparent head stabbing a knife into a yellow circle

Acrylic gouache on canvas, 81 x 114.2 cm, 2006

Artist's statement

My paintings depict a colourful world inhabited by people engaged in everyday activities. Images of teachers, artists 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. These simplifications appear to create a community of super-humans living in a world that has a harmonious transparency.

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 was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1973. He studied in London at Central Saint Martins 1992-95 and the Royal Academy Schools 1997-2000. He has exhibited widely, including at 'EAST International' 2003 Norwich Gallery and 'Portrait Session' Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art 2006. In 2007 he participated in 'Like Color in Pictures' at Aspen Art Museum Colorado USA and had his second solo show with Kate MacGarry in London. During 2008 he has shown in 'Imaginary Realities: Constructed Worlds in Abstract and Figurative Painting', Max Wigram Gallery London and will have his second solo exhibition with Gallery Side 2 Tokyo.

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