Elizabeth Peyton

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Elizabeth Peyton
Elizabeth Peyton is an American painter who rose to popularity in the mid 1990’s. She was born in Danbury, Connecticut in 1965, where her father and stepmother had a candle-making business. She was born with only two fingers on her right hand, and so she learned to draw with her left hand. In interviews, she has said that celebrities fascinated her even as a child, particularly the tennis and ice-skating stars of the 1970s, but her interests took a musical turn when her older sister introduced her to the seminal British punk band The Clash. Peyton's fascination with painting and drawing people began in childhood and continued throughout her years in art school at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In the early 1990s in New York, she was one of a very few young artists who chose to explore figurative painting, and her work, in retrospect has proven to be a paradigm of a kind of popular realism that has had a major influence on contemporary art in the US and Europe since the middle of the 1990s. She is a contemporary artist best known for stylized and idealized portraits of her close friends, pop celebrities and European monarchy. When she was growing up, Peyton's eyes never learned to work in concert, so she is no good at judging distances. "It's not uncommon not to have depth perception," she says. "You see everything flat. I wonder, though, if it makes people more disposed to make pictures." Does it create difficulties? "Parking. My parallel parking is ... I'm much better with a boat, when there's more room around." Peyton’s work is characterized by lengthened, slender figures with asexual features composed of vibrant, colourful brushstrokes. Early in her career, Elizabeth’s seminal works were typically large-format oils on canvas, where figures shared equal visual importance with the background. Some of her works incorporated text into them as well. Peyton is enthralled by the abstract power of paint as paint. Her broad brushstrokes and...
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