Ellipse Paintings at Gallery Wendi Norris

September 8-October 29, 2016

For the first exhibition with Peter Young, Gallery Wendi Norris will
exhibit nine large paintings on canvas and eight small paintings on
paper from the artist’s “Ellipse” series.  The show will encompass the
entire gallery with works completed between 1989-2001.

Charisma and exuberance flow through the gestural color swatches in Young’s work.  In works like #75-2000 and #76-2000, the central color palette is that of primary colors, and in others, such as #36-1994, the softer hues of western landscapes appear. For example, in #36-1994,
the sienna glow of the rocky environs surrounding his Southern Arizona
home takes prominence, with thinly washed turquoise strokes, suggesting
the pristine blue skies of the desert. As the title of the series
indicates, ellipses play a central role in composition, invoking, in
part, a game he played with his father, a renowned physicist. Though the
foreground is made up of flat, thickly colored geometric shapes, the
background is comprised of thin washes of acrylic or vacant white
canvas.  Such distinct layers produce a surprising sense of depth and
motion as the viewer’s eye moves from one plane to the other.  A dancing
effect materializes and the works approach the near figurative, as if
in conversation with paintings of an earlier era with a similar emphasis
on joie-de-vivre, perhaps those of Matisse and his fauvist compatriots.

Young and his work have continuously defied categorization since his
early New York years showing with Leo Castelli and Richard Bellamy. He
has been described variously as the first post-modernist painter, as
well as a minimalist and an abstract surrealist.  A sophisticated
colorist and man of careful calculation, his paintings can at once
conjure a metaphysical, psychedelic and indigenous feel.

Peter Young and many of his iconic paintings and drawings are highlighted in the HBO Documentary Film, Brillo Box (3¢ off), by
director Lisanne Skyler.  The film, airing in 2017 on HBO, explores the
ephemeral nature of art, and follows the path of an Andy Warhol Brillo
Box from the Sixties to a 2010 Christie’s auction, and how it left the
filmmaker’s family living room when her father traded it in to acquire a
drawing by Peter Young.