Artist: Purvis Young
Title: Untitled Insect Painting
Medium: Oil painting on paper
Size: 22" x 29"
Condition: In the style of found art with an intentionally weathered appearance. Expected imperfections include heavy creasing, unfinished edges, and marks
Inscription: Signed "Young" on front side
Documentation: Includes a Certificate of Authenticity from the Purvis Young Foundation
Purvis Young's body of work features a cast of repeated iconography that serve as symbols for his personal experience and emotions: "These themes include the subjects and symbols most commonly associated with the artist — horses, faces, and angels, for instance — and less explored subjects, such as eyes, insects, and planets" (Hyperallergic, 2019). Most of Young's insect art showcases a number of insects in a single work, yet this 1998 Untitled painting is unique for its focus on a single, large insect. The artist had a lizard in his studio that he often caught eating bugs, which is said to be the impetus for his insect-focused art.
Purvis Young often uses his art as a tool to analyze the black experience in America. The stories Young shares can be fraught with difficulty, from growing up in segregated and violent neighborhoods to navigating the art world as a perceived outsider, but they always include an idea of hope. In this Untitled work, Young highlights the tension between hope and oppression with an interesting color combination combining somber earth tones in the forefront paired with a rainbow of bright colors at the top and in the background.
Intentionally weathered, this untitled Purvis Young painting on paper has the type of imperfections you'd expect from found street art, including heavy creasing, unfinished edges, and markings. This piece is currently unframed but can be framed to your liking for an additional cost. Although unsigned, this original Purvis Young painting includes a certificate of authenticity from the Purvis Young Foundation.
This piece is currently not framed. The photo showing the frame is a mockup of a frame and what it would look like framed. If you would like the piece framed we can work with our local framer at our discounted price to pick out the perfect frame for your home.
About Purvis Young
Self-taught artist from a poverty stricken neighborhood of Miami, Purvis Young transformed his fraught yet inspired life experience into a unique and compelling visual vocabulary. Through a range of powerful symbols, he articulated the struggles and myths of his heritage.
Drawing from a range of sources such as documentaries, art books, American history and spiritual folklore, Young crafted an immense visual language comprised of motifs such as white horses offering freedom, halos signifying angles, pregnant women with the hope of tomorrow, processions and incarceration, among others. Telling simple, yet powerful stories of everyday life, the artist expressed his community and ethnic background. Using found objects from his neighborhood, such as cardboard, discarded political signs, used paper, doors, plywood scraps, metal sheets, carpet remnants, he transformed these surfaces into richly colored and highly expressionist paintings. Although Young is often associated with Outsider Art, his style could best be described as "Magic realism".
In 2016, his life and work were the subject of a feature documentary entitled Purvis of Overtown. He was a recipient of the Artists/Fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and was included into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in 2018. His work is found in the collections of the American Folk Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the High Museum of Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
The subjects of Purvis Young celebrated and historicized the neighborhood where he had spent his entire life. Even though his works chronicled struggle, they always contained an underlining hope for a better future.
Purvis Young was born in 1943 in Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida and died in 2010 in Miami. In 2015, almost 400 pieces of Young’s art were donated by The Bass Museum of Art to the permanent collection in the Black Archives History and research Foundation of South Florida located in the heart of Purvis’ hometown.