A sense of place: recent artworks by Maxwell Doig

The latest exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery running from 11 November 2017 – 3 March 2018 is A Sense of Place: Recent Artworks by Maxwell Doig.

Who is Maxwell Doig?

Originating from Huddersfield, Maxwell Doig trained at the Slade and studied anatomy at University College London before developing his distinct mixed-media technique at the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin. Twenty years since Doig’s first solo show at Huddersfield Art Gallery as an emerging painter, A Sense of Place his latest solo exhibition features his recent series of architectural paintings.

What style of art does Doig create?

All of the paintings in the exhibition are typical of Doig’s style, which combines delicate colour, tone and texture to communicate a variety of equally subtle matter: fog, snow, sand and grass, windswept wooden sides of beached boats and fishing huts, and the stony metal featured of industrial architecture.

What inspired Doig’s artwork?

Newsome Mills, a former Victorian textile works and a Huddersfield landmark, inspired several of Doig’s new pictures, each of which specifically focuses on the mill’s clock tower and its correspondence to the remaining buildings. Only two weeks after he completed many of these paintings, the main four-storey building at Newsome Mills, which was planned for major development, was destroyed in a fire:

“I caught it just in time and I’m glad I did. Just when you think something is permanent it disappears. Perhaps this is part of my job, to capture something before it disappears.”

What techniques does Doig use to create his pieces of work?

Working primarily in acrylic, Doig builds up layers of refined tone and colour over various coarser grounds, often mixed with sawdust. It’s a technique that Doig has evolved over several decades and largely on his own terms:

“Once I have three or four layers built up, I scrape it back to the ground, hoping to find interesting textures that might suggest a wall, plastered, rendering or maybe drystone.”

Doig’s paintings show a level of detail seldom found outside architectural plans, but are in no way prosaic, as Algernon Newton once pointed out, “A gasometer can make as beautiful a picture as a palace on the Grande Canal… It simply depends on the artist’s vision”.

View the exhibition

The exhibition is on until Saturday 3 March and is presented in association with Messum’s, London.

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