My favourite contemporary artist is without doubt the American painter, Elizabeth Peyton. Perhaps because as far as age goes, we are almost exact contemporaries.
I first saw Peyton's work many years ago at Sadie Coles, and of course I wish I had bought a piece then! These days her pint sized paintings come at a price approaching the $800,000, a small but exquisite etching that I enquired about recently is listed at $10,000. I have however bought myself a copy of her book and a copy of the illustrated programme of the 'Live Forever' exhibition with text by Laura Hoptman. I have included these books in the Amazon selection that you can access through the right hand side bar 'Empire Bookshop.' Just click on the image of the great stack of collapsing books .
The London showing of 'Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton' opened this week and runs until the 20th of September 09 at the Whitechapel. The exhibition is a 25 year retrospective and is far more comprehensive than the smattering of images posted here. I am recommending it to my friends over there, perhaps it will come down here one day, but in the meantime the books and these images will have to suffice:
I have read scathing British reviews, don't believe a bit of it! The works are luminous and intoxicating, printed or electronic images don't really do the work justice. As for the subjects (the source of much of the aforementioned criticism) yes they are celebrities, you'll find Kurt Cobain, Johny Rotten, Liam Gallagher, Marc Jacobs etc, etc ... but rendered as they are, celebrity is almost irrelevant. The work has been criticized as lacking emotion, perhaps the truth is that the images capture thought .... the act of thinking rather than feeling; introspection rather than the emotion laden communication that the populous applauds when focusing on celebrity.
Peyton's history is absolutely fascinating, you'll have to read the book .... but the influences are clear, Courbet and Hockney come running right at you. I struggled trying to narrow down a selection of images to post, then gave up and posted everything I had.