Born in 1929 in London, Peter Joseph is an abstract painter best known for his geometric two-colour paintings, relying on primary colours and optical effects. Since the sixties, and after leaving behind a career in advertising, Peter Joseph has spent his life painting and contemplating painting. Moreover, he stated: “To me painting is everything, and there’s nothing that we have in society that’s the equivalent. Real painting leaves you absolutely immobile, because you’ve met something; you’ve met yourself.”
In the early seventies, Joseph’s paintings had evolved into variations of a single format: a rectangle resting in the centre of a darker border. The two tones, although one light and one dark, somehow create one continuous field. Considered as one of the finest colourist painting today, Peter Joseph painted in this way for 34 years before what he calls the organisation of the paintings changed. His paintings, considered as early work, often rely on the juxtaposition of colours brought together in a way that creates a certain unity; titles are usually statements of materials, visual fact. His work is characterized by perfect symmetry, where every decision about colour and proportion can be seen to be redolent of time, mood or place.
More recently there has been a shift toward an increasing improvisation, seen here most clearly in a sequence of studies from 2010 where blocks of acrylic on canvas are collaged on to paper. They create a surface of these works share much with recent painting, the subtle juxtaposition of forms reveals a complex rhythm akin to a musicality and harmony.
Peter Joseph lives and works in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK.