If I had to identify one element that binds my work together, it would be light.

In every picture, I'm chasing after light as it passes over surfaces and planes, bodies, objects, and empty space. In doing so, I'm attempting to articulate simple statements about beauty which have a tranquil potency and are truthful.

I'm interested in light, sometimes in the most mundane way. The physical world we move through is wholly described by intensities of darkness and light - it's all around us, omnipresent and unresolved in a constant cycle of adjustment; casting shadow, adding brilliance and generating reflection. This same darkness and light exists within us as well. The metaphysical idea of light as a pictorial means to touch something beyond what we know is a longstanding driver in my work.  

The process I use consists of creating photographic imagery through extended shoots primarily in the studio and using these as references to work from.  The subjects I choose are sourced from notes and central ideas gathered over a long duration. Once the shoot begins, the subject matter finds its own course and often the imagery moves in a direction that I hadn’t contemplated. I isolate the most interesting images, manipulate them and then select which ones to use as the basis for oil paintings or drawings.

Once I begin painting, I make decisions about what information I use and ignore, and what to invent intuitively to add visual strength to the picture.

People frequently comment that some of my work is approaching photo-real but I don't think of it like that. It is usually representational but it has never been a technical exercise intended to depict a version of reality. I am not that interested in what something looks like. In the process of working, I let details disappear, wipe things out, and I'm always looking to eliminate anything that is unnecessary. In that sense, I see my quintessential task as a painter as being exactly the same as gestural painters and abstractionists. That is, I try to concentrate on what is essential to create the most emotion and achieve a sense of rightness in the pictures. 


angus mcdonald

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