Forget pickled sheep and unmade beds – Peter Doig’s new show will turn the Scottish National Gallery into a temple of painterly delights.
The pleasure principle struggles for recognition these days as a measure of art appreciation. The pleasure of paint in particular, with life-drawing as its grammar, has been brushed aside with gestures heavy in conceptual irony. There may be good reasons for gazing at a pickled sheep or a tent with the names of the designer’s lovers sewn in, but visual exhilaration is not among them. For the next three months, William Playfair’s neoclassical rooms at the old Royal Scottish Academy buildings in Edinburgh, now part of the Scottish National Gallery, will be a temple of painterly delights. Peter Doig creates big, well-constructed oil paintings that are sometimes years in the making and are apt to change under the artist’s hand as the paint itself ages and alters in character. They reflect his preoccupation with weather – the shaping force behind all the forms and colours of nature.