•  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
30th anniversary
Saatchi Store
Current Exhibition

Donald Urquhart EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

Dors
Donald Urquhart
Dors

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
The earliest of these drawings come from a series titled Peroxides on Parole made in 2000 to serve as flyers, posters and wall decorations for ’The Beautiful Bend’, an eclectic and gloriously camp nightclub which the artist co-founded in the early 1990s. Drawn in black ink on the pages of an A3 sketchbook, Dors, Dusty, Jayne and Davis Scowl were originally photocopied, pasted up around the club’s King’s Cross interior, and taken home at the night’s end by anyone who wanted them. The poses of these legendary movie stars in their simple, understated portraits were lifted from single or composite frames of different films in which they appear, carefully chosen by the artist and paused to allow him time to sketch. Dors is a portrait of 1950s sex symbol Diana Dors, who was, in her time, the British equivalent to Marilyn Monroe. “The image is from Diana in Adam and The Ants’s Prince Charming video,” discloses Urquhart. “She was older then, but I tried to make her a bit more glamorous.”
Dusty
Donald Urquhart
Dusty

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
The drawings from Urquhart’s Peroxides on Parole series feature famous bombshell blondes: iconic beauties, shrouded in sex-mystique, each one a symbol of tragic celebrity. Diana Dors, in the above drawing, famously quipped on Parkie that blonde sex symbols tend to die young and she had no intention of doing so; she died of cancer only a few years later at the age of 52. Dusty is a portrait of 60s pop songstress Dusty Springfield, whose public image was greatly at odds with her personal life. A devout Catholic and bi-sexual, Springfield was plagued by depression, which led to her often irrational behaviour, substance abuse, and self-harm.
Jayne
Donald Urquhart
Jayne

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
Jayne Mansfield was a 1950s movie star and pin-up well known for her appearance in Playboy and her pioneering of the ‘wardrobe malfunction’ as a publicity stunt. Mansfield’s later life was marked by alcoholism and extra-marital affairs; her untimely death in a car accident at the age of 34 became one of the most sensationalised macabre events in celebrity history when images of her decapitated scalp appeared amongst photographs of the automotive wreckage. Urquhart renders her image as a frightful distortion, her face almost skull-like, an awkwardly mounted appendage between her huge hair and bosoms. Urquhart took this image from an old newsreel of Mansfield attending a premiere, and part of the drawing’s disproportion is a reflection of the way a figure’s motions appear warped when put on pause, as well as the high-contrast choppiness of early film. (The other part is because he made the drawing freehand, sitting very close to the TV!)
Davis Scowl
Donald Urquhart
Davis Scowl

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
Urquhart’s Davis Scowl presents a portrait of Bette Davis in her role in The Anniversary: a one-eyed, domineering, psychologically twisted mother hell-bent on ruining her childrens’ lives. In doubling the image, Urquhart mirrors Davis’s on-screen character with her real-life persona, as unflatteringly portrayed in a tell-all biography written by her daughter. Throughout his Peroxides on Parole series, Urquhart presents an examination of celebrity culture’s fascination. Executed in black and white, these drawings point to the duplicity of fame and its unattainable ideals. Initially conceived as party advertisements, his portraits become degraded effigies of adoration, his icons’ most personal and very human flaws made property for public circulation.
Squires Palladium
Donald Urquhart
Squires Palladium

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
A number of the other drawings were created with special theme nights at the club in mind. Squires Palladium was made for a night based on the colourful life of Dorothy Squires, the rags-to-riches Welsh singer who found fame in the music halls of the 1940s and 50s. She is seen onstage, soaked in the beams of spotlights as roses rain down on her from the audience.
Sari Fly
Donald Urquhart
Sari Fly

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
Sari Fly was one of several produced for a Bollywood-inspired night called ’Lady Blows the Singhs’.
Down in Frisco
Donald Urquhart
Down in Frisco

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
Down in Frisco portrays a dazed and dishevelled individual wearing Elsa Schiaparelli’s famous ’’Tear Dress’’ made of a fabric printed with trompe l’oeil rips by Salvador Dali, in a poster for a San Francisco Earthquake night.
Noel Noir (Reindeer)
Donald Urquhart
Noel Noir (Reindeer)

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
The Noel Noir (Reindeer) was originally conceived as one of a set of five Christmas cards designed by the artist for sale in the streets of London as part of a theatrical project commissioned by Artangel and performed by a homeless actors’ collective in December 2003. The dark subject matter was provided by one of the artist’s co-workers, who participated in an organized deer cull as a pre-Christmas break.
Kimono Dragon
Donald Urquhart
Kimono Dragon

2000

ink on paper

46 x 34 cm
An Alphabet of Bad Luck, Doom and Horror
Donald Urquhart
An Alphabet of Bad Luck, Doom and Horror

2004

Acrylic Paint

8ft x 24ft
An Alphabet of Bad Luck, Doom and Horror is exactly that – a sequence of letters resembling a pull-out from a children’s early learning book, originally painted by the artist over the course of five days in acrylic directly onto a wall at his London gallery for a group show entitled ’The Black Album’. The artist had made no plans or notes prior to starting; the almost comically doom-laden images were in large part a response to a stream of unfortunate personal events that befell the artist while the work was in progress.
A Joan Crawford Alphabet
Donald Urquhart
A Joan Crawford Alphabet

2007

Arcylic on canvas

215 x 300cm
Taking the form of a beginner’s lexicon detailing the infamy of Mommie Dearest, Donald Urquhart describes his A Joan Crawford Alphabet as, “an obituary in 26 parts.” Labelled with the folly fonts of cabaret posters, Urquhart’s humorously crude drawings illustrate a life that was as famous off-screen as on, entwining Crawford’s iconic film roles with her scandalous personal life to create a portrait of a legend in collective consciousness. In her early career, Crawford became famous for her ‘rags to riches’ characters, and later for more psychologically dark roles. After her death in 1977, Crawford’s ‘true persona’ was revealed in a biography written by her daughter: a damning portrayal of egoism, alcoholism, mental illness, and child abuse. Though Urquhart’s painting looks spontaneous, his process is very labour intensive. Using the smallest brushes available to ensure total control of his lines he addresses each image with the devotion of an obsessive fan.






Other artists in
NEWSPEAK: BRITISH ART NOW

Caroline Achaintre    Tasha Amini    Hurvin Anderson    Maurizio Anzeri    Jonathan Baldock    Anna Barriball    Steve Bishop    Karla Black    Lynette Yiadom Boakye    Pablo Bronstein    Alan Brooks    Peter Linde Busk    Carla Busuttil    Nicholas Byrne    Gareth Cadwallader    Juliana Cerqueira Leite    Spartacus Chetwynd    Steven Claydon    Clarisse d'Arcimoles    William Daniels    Matthew Darbyshire    Graham Durward    Tim Ellis    Tom Ellis    Richard Evans    Tessa Farmer    Marcus Foster    Robert Fry    Ximena Garrido-Lecca    Jaime Gili    Nick Goss    Luke Gottelier    Kate Groobey    Anthea Hamilton    Anne Hardy    Gabriel Hartley    Nicholas Hatfull    Iain Hetherington    Alexander Hoda    Sigrid Holmwood    Systems House    James Howard    Graham Hudson    Dean Hughes    Des Hughes    Mustafa Hulusi    Paul Johnson    Edward Kay    Idris Khan    Scott King    Ansel Krut     littlewhitehead    Alastair MacKinven    Goshka Macuga    Ryan Mosley    Rupert Norfolk    Arif Ozakca    Mark Pearson    Dan Perfect    Peter Peri    Olivia Plender    Henrijs Preiss    Ged Quinn    Clunie Reid    Barry Reigate    Luke Rudolf    Maaike Schoorel    Daniel Silver    David Brian Smith    Renee So    Fergal Stapleton    Clare Stephenson    Caragh Thuring    Phoebe Unwin    Donald Urquhart    Jonathan Wateridge    John Wynne    Toby Ziegler

Donald Urquhart's BIOGRAPHY

Donald Urquhart
1963
Born in Dumfries, Scotland

Lives and works in London


SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2010
Maureen Paley, London

2009
Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome
Thank You for Listening, The Apartment, Vancouver, Canada.

2008
Plagues, performance commission, Studio Voltaire, London, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow
Jack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles
Asia Song Society, New York

2007
52 Girls, Maureen Paley, London
White Columns, New York

2006
There's a wee girl at my school, Herald St, London
No Axe To Grind, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco

2005
Another Drama, Schnittraum, Cologne

2004
Listen to the Wine, Millers Terrace, London

2003
The Beautiful Bend Story, Magnani, London
A Present from the Zoo, Magnani. London



GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2009
Newspeak: British Art Now, The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

2008
50 Moons of Saturn, The Second Turin Triennale, Turin.
The Wizard of Oz, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
Sack of Bones, Asia Song Society, New York
What Are You Like?, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
In Drawing Purdy Hicks Gallery, London
100 Years, 100 Artists, 100 Works of Art, Rochelle School, London

2007
Das Kapital: Blue Chips and Masterpieces, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main

2006
Le Retour De La Colonne Durutti, Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin

2005
l’Entr’acte, Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London
I still believe in miracles/Drawing Space (part I), Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris / ARC au Couvent des Cordeliers, Paris
Inaugural, Herald St, London
Herald St & The Modern Institute present, GBE Modern, New York
Becks Futures, ICA, London
Other People’s Projects, Herald St, London, White Columns, New York
Consignia, Hiscox gallery, London

2004
The Black Album, Maureen Paley - Interim Art, London, November.
Publish & Be Damned, Cubitt, London
Wolfgang Tillmans presents, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany
Concert in the Egg, The Ship, London

2003
Noel Noir, The Horse Hospital, London, Artangel Commission
Bootleg, Spitalfields Market, London