Elizabeth Peyton review

Stuart Bush Studio Blog, Elizabeth Peyton review, A love story between a painter and the subject

A love story between a painter and the subject

It is perhaps not surprising that the first thing I am drawn to as I enter Elizabeth Peyton’s new show at Sadie Coles in London is the few abbreviated spontaneous strokes.  The marks capture feelings sending the paintings beyond just physical aspects in her lush romantic paintings.  Over the years the configurations, I have noticed Peyton’s paintings have become more and more involved. However, the subject matter is still the same.  Peyton’s use of light, colour and poignancy has compounded.  The watercolour brushwork is pure and clean like freshly fallen snow.  Through her use of bristles of her brush, Peyton has perfected the art of portraying a simple and beautiful concept and idea.  Brushmarks just like the direct expressions of emotion.

 

Elizabeth Peyton review – Sadie Coles London until 15 June 2019

Chantal Joffe asks; What is it like to be somebody else?

It is satiable to fall in love with the subject.  However, falling in love is something Peyton does very easily.  Her paintings and her marriage to the Thai artist Rirkit Tirvanija is evidence of that.  In 1991, a few weeks after meeting Tirvanija, he was due to leave the US due to visa difficulties.  But Peyton told him, “I will marry you” and she meant it. They were married three weeks later.

 

 

Stuart Bush Studio Blog, Elizabeth Peyton, Yuzuru, Review

Yuzuru (Helsinki) 2018 monotype on Twinrocker handmade paper 79.7 x 59.5 cm, All rights are reserved by the artist and gallery, ©Elizabeth Peyton, Sadie Coles London

The happy marriage, unfortunately, came to an end in 2004 when they divorced.  Nevertheless, Tirvanija introduced her to Gavin Brown, the art dealer, before he had his own gallery space.  Gavin Brown encouraged Peyton to have a solo show in Room 828, at the Hotel Chelsea, in New York.  This was to be the beginning of Peyton’s art career.

 

 

A love story between a painter and the subject – Elizabeth Peyton review

Elizabeth Peyton - Sadie Coles London

Peyton started off her career painting a personal homage to artists and musician of the nineties.  She was inspired by reading Stefan Zweig’s ‘Marie Antoinette: The portrait of an Average Women’ and Vincent Cronin’s ‘Napoleon’.   Peyton understood and realised that Zweig’s book was a portrait of women infused with feelings and human insight. In Cronin’s ‘Napoleon’ book he showed that because of Napoleon’s individuality, he was able to use his magnetism to transform and change the world.

 

Elizabeth Peyton says, “I’d always made pictures of people, even when I was a little, little person.  The urge was there.  I just didn’t know why.  When I did that drawing of Napoleon, I realised this is something I have to do and want to do.”

A love story between a painter and the subject – Elizabeth Peyton review

David Salle review

Once it occurred to Peyton that all she needed to validate her work was to realise that ‘history is in people’ and by romanticising the image she was able to capture the spirit of the time.  By painting certain selected people in her show, Greta Thunberg, Jackson, Ally’s kiss in the film ‘A Star is Born’, she is participating in what she sees as a highly important cause.

 

“I really love the people I paint. I believe in them, I’m happy they’re in the world.”
Stuart Bush Studio Blog, Elizabeth Peyton, Review

David (David Bowie) 2019 watercolour on paper 41 x 31 cm, All rights are reserved by the artist and gallery, ©Elizabeth Peyton, Sadie Coles London

The images she chooses to paint are in comfortable and relaxed poses rather than the glamorous tabloid snaps of the front page. In her images, vulnerability and susceptibility are on show and warm and fuzzy feelings of desire and affection radiates.

 

The paintings make the viewer and artist come alive with Peyton’s work reverberating powerfully with the viewing public.  Peyton, by essential painting the characterise of the period, has deeply embedded her work in the zeitgeist.  James Baldwin the American novelist, playwright and activities once wrote,

 

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them”
A love story between a painter and the subject – Elizabeth Peyton review

Tracey Emin, ‘A Fortnight of Tears,’ exhibition review

Do you find it easy to choose what you to wear and how to decorate your home but when it comes to choosing art, what a nightmare?  I use to feel the same, I use to look at art and feel duped. I just didn’t get it. However, I had a curiosity to draw and paint and study art to get to the bottom of what I felt I didn’t understand. If you are curious to learn about the artist’s important role of meaning-making, I would love you to join me on my artist’s journey.  Join me each week on my journey by subscribing to my email newsletter. 

 

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