Until 1st September 2012
Peter Macdonald’s practice explores the production and proliferation of images in the contemporary world. In an unprecedented methodology, this new body of work begins life through Macdonald’s employment of 3D modelling software to develop virtual blueprints for his compositions. In a reversal of the application of technology, these digital sketches are then translated into large-scale, freehand drawings through a meticulous aggregative process of mark-making reminiscent of the Surrealists’ automatic drawing procedures.
Through the application of overlaying screens of intersecting lines of ink, the artist creates an aesthetic suggestive of interrupted radio transmissions or static interference. The resulting effect leaves the viewer with the task of deriving meaning from shifting layers of reality within the composition. In Macdonald’s words: “This technical approach symbolizes the increasingly prosthetic nature of our relations with the world. I try to draw as if I wasn’t using my eyes, to imagine what a machine sees – a vain attempt at describing a noumenal world.”
The exhibition presents a meditation on several famous utopian projects, manifested through the monumental architectural feats they elicited. Many of the structures Macdonald depicts were erected to symbolise the supremacy of a prevailing ideology, whilst others remain unrealised, as lingering reminders of broken dreams and failed missions. Macdonald situates the heroic structures within the breakdown of the metaphysical fabric of conventional space, mirroring the juxtaposition of utopian visions spawned from revolutionary projects and the disastrous realities that ensued from their attempted realisation. The multi-layered drawings create a neutral space in which the real and the hypothetical, the historical and the contemporary, the dream and the catastrophe are able to co-exist across different tiers of reality.