“I wanted to portray the violent transformation of nature in the European periphery. I have experienced that the concept of wilderness, and virgin land untouched by humans, has disintegrated.” –Helene Schmitz
Peter Joseph has, over the course of decades, dedicated his practice to seeking the potential in constraint. He rose to critical acclaim in the 1970s for his meditative, two-color paintings, which set one rectangle within a frame of a darker shade. These early works are characterized by perfect symmetry, where every decision about color and proportion can be seen to be redolent of time, mood or place. While comparable to the work of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, Joseph’s is an anomalous strain of Minimalism: his allegiance lies as much with Renaissance masters as with his contemporaries. More recently his format has departed from his established ‘architecture’ to divide the canvas into two planes, horizontally or vertically, wherein loose brushwork, natural tones and patches of exposed canvas tap into new feeling. As Joseph says, A painting must generate feeling otherwise it is dead.
Peter Joseph was born in London, UK in 1929. He lives and works in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK. He has had solo exhibitions at Bernard Bouche Gallery (2018, 2015, 2013); Unité d’habitation Le Corbusier, Briey-en-fôret, France (1998); Museum of Modern Art Oxford, UK (1994) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, USA (1983). He has been included in major group exhibitions at Sotheby’s S|2, London, UK (2018), Kinokino, Stavanger, Norway (2018); FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Dunkirk, France (2014); Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco, France (2013); Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany (2010); Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2008); MuHKA, Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, Belgium (2007); Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK (2005); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2002); Fundacao Serralves, Porto, Portugal (1999); Stadtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany (1984) and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (1977). He won the John Player Painting Competition in 1968.