Signed, Untitled Painting by Purvis Young (1943-2010)

Signed, Untitled Painting by Purvis Young (1943-2010)
An intriguing aspect of Purvis Young’s art is the way he so often brought the salvaged materials on which he worked into the narrative of his paintings.

The setting for this dramatic example is a lonely street in the shattered Miami suburb of Overton where Young lived. A solitary figure with one arm raised in defiance or triumph — or both — stands on top of what looks like a dump trunk loaded with– what? The kind of cast off, salvaged material the artist himself was known to reclaim?

In this piece Young uses the backside of a broken billboard for model home to make a statement about splintered neighborhoods and lives. I have to think the irony wasn’t lost on the artist, who saw Overton as a metaphor for both loss and survival.

Here, the use of thinly applied house paint and vertical brush strokes bring the splintered edges and grainy imperfections of the wood into the visual story, while the artist’s chosen palette suggests a kind of eerie silence that’s punctured only by the power of that one raised arm.

The signed, untitled painting is 40” X 34” unframed. Late 1980s-1994. Excellent condition.



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