I first learned about Elizabeth Peyton my freshman year at CNU during my first art history class. She’s an american figure painter that creates contemporary paintings of cultural icons, celebrities, and everyday individuals. Her popularity spiked during the 1990’s with her contemporary portraits however, it wasn’t until this year that she has recieved her own show entitled “Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton”. This show at the New Museum in New York treats her exhibit almost as a reader would a book. The walls covered with her artowrk act as the page of a book developing her subjects as she progresses from self portraits, to her family and friends, and onto popular icons from the past twenty years.
Peyton has a knack for creating vibrant portraits that can either house a simple scene from everyday life or a glamorous celebrity decked in fashionable clothing. With her style of painting her work evokes emotion from the viewer. Whether it is a scene of a comfort, dillusion, anger, or passion her figures themselves all tell a story that is open for interpretation.
Peyton is in no a way a photo realist. She uses her oils to abstract the figure into her own style. Emphasizing high contrast and, the colors she sees in the figures skin, clothes, and hair. By manipulating all these factors she is able to create a scene that attracts viewers. I can’t quite put my finger on how she is able to produce such a strong atmosphere through her work but, it is something I admire.
Peyton is someone I will probably look into more as I narrow done my artist posts to my final ten.