Interview by Benjamin Murphy
Published in June 2022
Self taught and trained, Peter Doyle is an Irish artist now living and working in London. Peter’s work possesses a naive bravery, rendered expressively in acrylic on canvas. Pastel tones and patterns set the backdrop for the majority of his compositions in which he depicts the remarkable everyday. Overset with recurring motifs of women, horses and flowers, Peter reinvents the still life with a charming intimacy and records solitary figures in familiar but otherworldly environments.
Describing his approach as ‘casual’, Peter’s work can be recognised by his immediate, definitive, and instinctually candid approach to mark-making. The artist honed his skills painting graffiti rather than going to art school. This is evident in his work, his courageous and expressive style feels liberated, and stands in refreshing contrast to the art school graduate.
His work thus far is an eerily brilliant collection of provocative compositions. Some paintings are snapshots of the artist’s trips abroad, some are of friends set upon a distorted set of Dublin motifs, and all reflect stories and characters of intrigue to the artist.
Peter Doyle’s work is immediate, intriguing, and impressive. The pairing between him and Conor Murgatroyd was one that struck me as soon as I was asked to curate one of the first exhibitions for the exciting new London gallery The Room London. The Uncanny Valley brings together multiple works by both artists whose work is distinct in style but related in approach. The show opens on the 10th of June and runs until the 1st of July.
Georgie on the roof
Firstly, why are you an artist?
I think I started painting as a way to get out what I wanted to see .. you know? Like lads in pubs and found images… I was working in a gallery in Berlin a few years back and loved it , typically thought to myself “I could probably give it a go” and painting was always something I loved
Tell me about the things you do that aren’t a part of your work.
I just knock around really. I like to cycle about and take pictures
Do you work to a strict schedule or routine?
I’m not very strict no, I really have to be in the mood to paint, I may take about 2 weeks just getting some images together and then work on them all at once.
How do you source your subject matter, and what things inspire the work?
I’d take pictures of my girlfriend Emear mostly or go through some books or old pictures of Ireland but now I’m starting to work with new people. Loads of it comes from being in the pub.
I paint what’s around me - from real life and made up imagery and motifs is normally how I want to see and paint things - giving things a genuine almost “mundane” feel with made up scenarios and something personal to the subject being painted , I like to keep em kinda simple.
The inspiration can come from everything - maybe a cliche answer but I want to see what I’m capable of painting so the inspiration is always kinda there.
What, if anything, are you hoping your works will say to the viewer?
I want them to taken with a pinch of salt, they are of pretty basic subject matter, almost mundane in a way, but its real life - so I hope people see that and get something from it.
I paint people and things around me and I want the work to have a personal feel, like you’re sat with the person in the same room.
Tell me about the title
The title is The Uncanny Valley. I find that whole thing pretty interesting - it’s kind of endless with its possibilities, I paint kinda rough and ready so I feel it’s fitting. We wanted to make this show quite personal and bring to light what we do and go through in our daily lives - for myself it was a great way to push the subject matter, I want to show more of myself and make the work pretty literal.
I’m working more with different types of poses, slightly unnatural - stuff that pushes the body and looks a bit odd... how you might sit or lie when your bored on your own.
I’m excited for this show and a little nervous as the work has changed a fair bit so I wonder how it’ll be seen, but yeah it’s all good - I think it’s a nice mix with me and Conor. Hopefully we can do more. We wanted to make this show quite personal and bring to light what we do and go through in our daily lives - for myself it was a great way to push the subject matter, I want to show more of myself and make the work pretty literal.
Who are the subjects in your paintings, and how does their character affect the aesthetic of the work?
The subjects are mostly people pretty close to me, as I mentioned before, myself and Eimear appear in a lot and then I would take some motifs from a certain place or found imagery and throw it in if it fits - I would put something personal to the subject in the painting. So it completely takes it own path once it’s started.
Peter Doyle by Eimear Lynch
How has being from Dublin influenced your art practice, and has that changed since you moved to London?
I don’t really want to be known as the “Irish painter”. I used to reference it a lot but now where I am is what’s going to be in the most recent painting.
I spent a year in a few different studios from Greek Street to Leicester Square, the area is good craic. I love the groups of old lads in the pubs. It’s something I want to focus more on actually to give it more of an autobiographical feel.
The Uncanny Valley by Conor Murgatroyd & Peter Doyle at The Room London in Islington.
Curated by Benjamin Murphy
June 10th - July 1st
30 Thornhill Road, Angel, London N1 1HW
Weds - Fri 12am-6pm | Sat - Sun 12am - 5pm
If you like this why not read our interview with Conor Murgatroyd.
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