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Degree: Fine Art
Graduation Year: 2016
Gavin Donaldson’s creased, crumpled canvas’ expose dripping, blurred and equivocal portraits. The painterly contours and smears of paint dragging across the picture plane together with the disrepair of the canvas itself invite the viewer to witness an ongoing performance of themes. There is a duality at work: creation and destruction. This idea resonates with the artist’s intentions of creating paintings which echo the dual nature of a person’s inner self and the self they perform to the outer world. The artist Roger Hilton in 1961 observed that the technique of painting was less about representing the visible world than, “being an instrument capable of embodying men’s inner truths.” This statement reflects the aims of Donaldson; the façade is only part of the prism of perceptions at play. The work itself has the materiality evocative of Lucian Freud but the staggering confrontation and ambiguity indicative of Marlene Dumas. This collaboration of subject and materiality is especially noticeable in Donaldson’s work, and it contributes to the immediate and encompassing connection it solicits with its viewer.
My work explores identity, through the mediums of painting and drawing; mark-making with the intention of moving away from the hectic pace in which images are exposed to the public. Interest in the figure blooms out of the exploration of relationships between myself and others, and observing the psychodynamics of a person within their environment/amongst peers. Influenced by the impact and use of images in media and how the false permanence that is attained in photography has skewed perception – resulting in people sacrificing their own morale’s or beliefs in order to maintain an outward appearance of coherence. Many would follow as opposed to create, wear a mask rather than reveal and celebrate uniqueness and differences. Concepts are treated as concrete – something that can be possessed and held as though they are accolades. Delving into our own memory the images are much more fluid, enigmatic. There are now no memories without photographic aids, yet the photo tends to replace the memory and rather than regale the viewer with tales or emotions from the event. The automatic response to past experience is to show pictures. My practice is a personal exorcism of these ideas, a form of personal meditation with the intention to loosen the gripping necessity to control. The work manifests as incomplete or in a state of flux, constantly dissolving and evolving – to remain fluid and to be not as the viewer would expect. I am interested in the process of an artist working, and want to create art objects - reducing the paintings and drawings to their material value. Reducing art to its truth, constantly reinforcing destruction as an equal value as creation. Eliminating the borders of expectation and residing in the grey area between seeing things as black or white.
2016 DJCAD Degree Show, DJCAD, Dundee
2016 Farquhar Reid Trust Prize Winner
2016 Best of Scottish Art Graduates, Art Pistol, Glasgow
2016 DJCAD Ones To Watch, Gallery 48, Dundee
2016 Modern Art Group Show, Lemond Gallery, Glasgow
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