80 x 110 cm | 31 x 43 in
Oil paint and charcoal on loose, crumpled canvas. First photo is taken under warm indoor light and has reflected badly on the painting but it is an example of the final presentation. Second image is a better example of the use of paint though slightly darker and cooler as it was taken under the light of the grey sky.
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.