Pandemons, Capra Lupus 3
c2000 by Stanley Donwood
Donwood’s distinct work is best known and indeed recognised in the form of his various album cover designs for Radiohead. Hail to Thief, perhaps one of the most iconic, is certainly evident in Donwood’s Pandemon series: brilliant flat colour in a multitude of bold, primary shades. There is something clinically urban about his art, in the un-organic precision of execution together with a slight brutality of subject. However this brutality is not un-creative; it fuels a curiosity which is highly imaginative – the very stuff that caused Donwood to discover that if you draw a goat, give it a carnivorous mouth “then dress it in the suit and tie of a disgraced banker or politician it looks fucking evil”. Sinister in a cartoon, newspaper illustration-like, style these goats are deathly still and staring; not so much wearing their business suits, but rather a castrated head stuck on a human’s body. Creepily they appear as man/beast, and then a monster, as their mouths belong to neither, fangs curling. The fact that this sobering black and white figure peers through a curtain of dripping brightly coloured paint then makes a eerie juxtaposition. The paint falls dead straight, unnaturally straight, adding to its unreal and vaguely sci-fi effect carried by acid green, yellow and blue. There is no doubt that the fore-fronting red metaphorically draws blood, but the horrific undertones are saved any of their cliché through these backing multi-colours. Their random luminosity is unsettling, colouring the atmosphere of these paintings, drawing out both the humour and chill of the compositions.