Roberta and Elizabeth, BFF

In the NY Times Roberta Smith calls Elizabeth Peyton’s portraits girly. “By fits and starts, this exhibition reveals the complicated fusion of the personal, the painterly and the Conceptual that informs Ms. Peyton�s work. Each image is a point on entwined strands of artistic or emotional growth, memorializing a relationship, acknowledging an inspiration or exposing an aspect of ambition. This implies an overriding narrative, which is unusual for an exhibition nearly devoid of text labels and unaccompanied by a meet-the-artist introductory video….Ms. Peyton�s prominence is either a fluke or a further sign of the ascendancy of the feminine. Her art seems to belong to a strand of painting that has historically been dismissed or marginalized, and for which respect tends to come late, if at all. You could call it girly art. It includes the small still lifes of late Manet and the long careers of Giorgio Morandi and William Nicholson; the work of Marie Laurencin and Florine Stettheimer, who, like Ms. Peyton, chronicled their artistic circles; and the suggestive abstractions of O�Keeffe. The painting of O�Keeffe that concludes the show, based on a famous photograph by Alfred Stieglitz, is one of the weaker and larger works here. But that doesn�t stop this exhibition, which wears it heart on its sleeve and sheaths its ambition in a velvet glove, from striking a blow for the girl in all of us.”Read more.
At the L Magazine, Paddy Johnson thinks the show is ill-conceived and many of the paintings weak. “Though arranged roughly chronologically, it�s hard to get a sense of the progress and success of the work given its hanging. Dwarfed by the museum�s towering walls, Peyton�s already small works blend together, one almost indistinguishable from another. It doesn�t help that the changes in Peyton�s work over the last 15 years have by in large been subtle: the difference for example, between her early work drawn from photographs and some of her life-based pieces in later years is often only faintly apparent. The larger issue within the work itself, however, is the number of pedestrian paintings the artist has produced….for every good painting and drawing Peyton produces, two or three average works accompany them. Her landscapes are consistently poorly executed, and she has yet to resolve the backgrounds in her later portraits.” Read more.
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“Elizabeth Peyton can really paint”

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