Sunday, 16 August 2009

Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton....

....The latest show at the Whitechapel, of the same name, is a curious one. As in, I'm curious to know how they ever came to grace the walls of such an acclaimed gallery.

Liam Gallagher

Peyton is a contemporary artist, who paints portraits of famous people and those that have influenced her. Sure, some of her small, intimate paintings are arresting - using luminous colours where flatter tones would normally appear. But I can't help but feel that it is the subject matter that has taken her to such dizzy heights, rather than her painting ability. At first I thought that she was a music scene schmoozer, mixing with the likes of Liam Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker and Kurt Cobain......but in fact she hasn't met any of them. Their portraits are created not from personal sittings, but cuttings from newspapers. I think I drew these types of wishful portraits when I was seven.

Not a musician, but David Hockney

For me there is nothing new here. No 'new news', as we say in advertising. There is a small amount of interesting mark making and use of colour, and lots of average portraits of average musicians. But hey, the Whitechapel is free!

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