Writings: Peter McDougall

I was introduced to Dougie Thomson’s work five years ago and have been haunted by it ever since; mainly because I’m in the privileged position of having a few of his paintings and couldn’t escape their haunting presence and beauty if I tried … And I have… many a late and depending on my vulnerability? I’ve seen me duck under them to get myself from one room to the other, safely …those three dimensional penetrating eyes that dance between humour and violence and disturbingly track you to the acutest of angles, make his figures vibrantly and menacingly alive. There is no hiding; owning-up time, forced to accept the inevitable …You must sit, stare back at it, confront it, out-stare it, contemplate …it … no longer a painting now, or a picture, or one of many or part of a collective wall decoration … A Mirror.

For me Dougie Thomson is an exceptional painter; the power and near edible richness of his colouring and the layered texture of his work is obvious, that is his skill, but the effect his work has on people testifies to The Gift beyond a skill.

Over the years I’ve witnessed the reaction of friends and guests to my home when confronted by Thomson’s work; one guest, staring at a particular painting as if hypnotised, literally developed a shroud of palpable loneliness about him; I’ve seen expressions of a range from deep puzzlement and awe to grimaces of thoughtful uncertainty and bemusement but in one friend, I actually saw a fretful anxiety creep over him, induced by the ‘unknown’ he was staring at and compounded by his inability to fathom it; whither that unknown is there or not is neither here or there but Thomson’s ability and talent to put people through an emotional cycle from A to Z, is… and is definite … That’s his achievement.

The very presence of the Man’s work seeps into your bones like guilt.

Peter McDougall
March 1995