Peter Joseph made his debut in the sixties with a series of monochrome geometrical shapes on canvas. The formal restraints that he himself imposed on his work were to become characteristic for his further oeuvre, dominated by twofold compositions of square and rectangular shapes in a dual tonality. This firm structure paradoxically creates also a certain liberty that approached approaches the essence of painting very closely: ; variations in colour, tone and touch.
The strict symmetry goes together with a very flat facture. The touch is completely smoothed away in a neutral, nearly mechanical finish that shows a certain affinity with American Minimal Art and Clement Greenberg's interpretation of the picture plane. Only since 2005 is the paint systematically applied in a lighter, semi-transparent way.
By mixing the various colours on a canvas to the point that they achieve the same tonality, Peter Joseph creates harmony in his compositions. He is a celebrated colourist, whose palette ranges from single primary colours to the rich colour range of Italian Renaissance art.
Fundamental in Joseph's methodology is the study. Little fragments of canvas serve preparatory analyses of natural light, of the consistency and application of the paint. This exhibition demonstrates the importance of the study and its contribution to the compositorial innovation in his recent work, The New Painting.
The 'collage' technique of the studies is translated to a surface, opened up by large unpainted parts. While in previous work the touch was often smoothed away, it now has an expressive almost lyrical quality and is fundamental to the composition. A few transparent brush strokes on a naked canvas bring about a new spatial experience in his work.
Courtesy Galerie Greta Meert