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(The image was suggested by the Antoine-Jean Gros portrait on her copy of Cronin’s biography.) Three years earlier, when she was still in art school, she had made some drawings of Ludwig II of Bavaria, known as the Mad King, an eccentric aesthete and a patron of Richard Wagner’s; he was deposed in 1886 and died two days later, under mysterious circumstances.She did several more Ludwig pictures in 1991, including a fairly large full-length painting on glass.Earlier that summer, I’d lost my job, as an assistant to Ronald Jones, a teacher at S. I read Stendahl’s ‘The Charterhouse of Parma’ and ‘The Red and the Black.’ Even though I was miserable, I was eating up every word in those books.And somehow I came out of this knowing what I wanted to do.”Her deliverance began with a charcoal drawing of Napoleon as a fine-featured young first lieutenant, his longish hair parted in the middle.Rirkrit (as everyone calls him), who grew up in Thailand and went to college in Canada, was already an underground art star; he was taking conceptual art in a radical new direction, based on social interactions.(At one early show, Rirkrit turned the premises into a makeshift kitchen, where he cooked and served Thai food to surprised gallerygoers.) Peyton, who had noticed him at gallery openings, thought of him as “that cute Thai guy.” A few weeks after they met, she ran into him at an art opening, and Rirkrit confided that he was having visa problems—the only way he could stay in the country was to get married. “She said it in a very enthusiastic, loving way,” Rirkrit remembers. Wilcox, who was and still is a close friend, told me that her falling so immediately and irrevocably in love with Rirkrit “showed an uncanny knowledge of what’s right for her at any given moment.”Rirkrit introduced her to Gavin Brown, a brusque and somewhat intimidating young Brit who was then manning the front desk at Gallery 303, which had a reputation for finding new talent.“Her practice was fully formed by the time I met her in art school,” T. At a moment when the neoexpressionist juggernaut (Julian Schnabel, David Salle, et al.) was losing momentum, and art students were regularly being told that painting was dead, Peyton kept right on making pictures of figures she admired in European history and literature. Wilcox used to haunt the Van Dyck room, as she calls it—paintings by Rubens are the main draw there, but Peyton prefers Van Dyck.
As intimate as these pictures are, however, the documentary motivation in Peyton's endeavor has the effect of transcending their sole connection to her. “Reading about Napoleon made me think how people make history. A year later, a selection of Peyton’s paintings on glass appeared in a solo show at the Althea Viafora Gallery, and drew a favorable notice in .They are the way the world moves, and they contain their time. I’d always made pictures of people, even when I was a little, little person. When I did that first drawing of Napoleon, I realized this is something I have to do and want to do.”A few people had sensed, before this, that Peyton’s quiet manner veiled a fiercely determined ambition. (“Peyton uses paint the way some artists use composition: it holds each portrait together in all its formal energies and psychic vicissitudes.”) She didn’t show again for five years, but, from the summer of 1990 on, her course was set.These are the elegantly tousled, the glamorously at-ease, reclining in a world of Bohemian camaraderie under Peyton's gaze. These are the elegantly tousled, the glamorously at-ease, reclining in a world of Bohemian camaraderie under Peyton's gaze."Again and again her camera seeks out pale young men with mussed hair," The New York Times observed when these pictures were exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in July 2008, responding to the casual, beau monde atmosphere Peyton conjures here. All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders. "Again and again her camera seeks out pale young men with mussed hair," The New York Times observed when these pictures were exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in July 2008, responding to the casual, beau monde atmosphere Peyton conjures here.