Lisson Gallery

Peter Joseph's early works were characterised by meditative, two-colour, symmetrical paintings. Deeply influenced by American modernists such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, Joseph acknowledges their influence on his work. Preoccupied with the idea of the painting as an object, he created a number of installations in the 1960s. As Andrew Nairne notes in ‘Peter Joseph: Beyond the Borders’, The New Painting, exhibition catalogue, 2014:

"Before Joseph settled on the form his paintings would subsequently take, he made two works that focused attention on paintings as objects and their relationship to the viewer and a given space. Joseph recounts: 'Life seemed to have greater possibilities. It became necessary to attempt a public work'. In Kenwood Park, in North London, he placed three large fibreglass discs against trees in the undulating landscape. Perfect circles, they were taller than people. In the same year, 1969, he created a wall, again above head height, occupying the central axis of a gallery at Camden Arts Centre, forcing the viewer into one of the two remaining areas.

The discs and the wall were painted in a bright primrose yellow. Of the Camden piece Joseph has said: 'It was in part a painting, a wall and a colour'. With apparent ease, Joseph played a part in that revolutionary era when art production as a field and discourse was liberated from formal strictures. In these two important early projects, Joseph explored the perfection and physicality of the made object and how colour could be a force, heightening and disrupting our perception of an environment or space."

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