Sunday, February 27, 2011


Elizabeth Peyton’s 1998 lithograph titled “Boise” stands out amidst a crowded, salon-style wall of postmodern prints in the Walker Art Center’s 50/50 exhibit. The liberal use of bright lavender in Payton’s androgynous portrait is initially jarring, but becomes endearing as the eye adjusts. Heavy, hasty brush strokes in her subject’s coat create weight and motion and point us toward the face. When we arrive there, we enjoy resting in the careful detail of a soft, warm, contemplative gaze. Taking notice of a pair of feminine, crimson lips, Peyton’s focal point becomes apparent. This pivotal detail infuses a work which would otherwise seem nondescript with questions about gender, sexuality, and relationships.

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