Purvis Young: The Life I See

July 11 - October 30, 2022 - Carl and Gini Weyand Gallery

Angel with 3 Mystery Figures

Angel with 3 Mystery Figures

Purvis Young

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Renaissance Angel

Purvis Young

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3 Angels with Figures

Purvis Young

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Purvis Young (1943-2010) was a self-taught artist who lived and worked in Overtown, a historically Black neighborhood adjacent to downtown Miami. Working on materials such as discarded scraps of wood, metal and cardboard found on neighboring streets, Young developed an expressive and visionary style of painting rooted in his experience living in an economically distressed community. By the 1970s Young began to receive local recognition, exhibiting his paintings by the hundreds in abandoned buildings in Overtown. His local success eventually led to national and international recognition with exhibitions throughout the U.S. and in Europe. The paintings that Young produced on discarded materials are often positive and intended to inspire the viewer with a vision of a better world. This theme is particularly evident in his depiction of “angels,” which often appear in his work as large floating heads and faces surrounded by other figures, the urban landscape, or rocky pinnacles. They are symbolic of “good people,” whose lives and work bring others hope. With these paintings, Young expressed both his optimism for the future and his critique of social injustice suffered by people in his community. “I paint what I see… I paint the problems of the world,” said Young.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous gifts of collectors Daniel Aubry, and Jill Bonovitz and Nancy H. Blood in recognition of Janet Fleisher.

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