Having visited various exhibitions of contemporary art in South Florida over the last two weeks, restraint and subtle simplicity are not words that often spring to mind. The British artist Peter Joseph, now 90 years old, still paints every day, exploring the subtle interplay of colours and shapes, sometimes appearing as simple as two sweeping brushstrokes.
Set within the simple white architectural geometry of the Lisson Gallery in London with its rooflight out to the sky and window out to the street, Joseph’s recent work from the last three years has been on show alongside small collages made as studies for the painted works. While they initially appear restrained, the purposeful imperfections, tears, nicks and cuts in the shapes and the shadows of the paint, combined with the relationship of the different shapes along with their neighbours, often overlapping with a white shadow behind, gives them timelessness, life, informality and movement.
‘These paintings are vulnerable. They are expressions of what I call feeling, attempts at trying to make sense. I’m simply trying to exist and be honest, hoping that some time I can produce something that people need or want or recognise in some of their own feelings.’ (Peter Joseph)