(1943 - 2010)
Purvis Young was active/lived in Florida. Purvis Young is known for mod naive urban views, installation.
Biography from the Archives of askART
The work of the urban black vernacular artist, Purvis Young, has
roots in the dreamy fields of high art subject matter-evoking Picasso
in its riders, its elegant horses, its nudes. At the same time it
is filled with the energy and syncretism of the world's
vanguard-American urban Black culture. It is to "outsider art"
what be bop is to the blues. The subject matter rides on a thick
layer of color, attention, choice, free-swinging composition that
refers to a thousand years of composition before it.
Biography from the Archives of askART
lives and works in Overtown, a neighborhood in Miami cut off by the
highway overpasses that loom over it. He is "of the community,
but is also, now, of the larger art world as well." He has
researched art history avidly and has seen what other artists have
done, spending years in the libraries that have supported his work. He
has chosen his imagery out of Overtown and his own life, and out of the
resonances of the past as well.
Young's choices of materials-the
discarded boards he uses to paint on and to "frame" works; the
fragments of text, the use of books to mount the works-are not made by
happenstance, though early on they may have been the fruit of
necessity. Now these are elements of meaning. Now they
insist on the presence of the street, full of stuff, humanity, words,
scraps, full of the exchanges that create the most exciting cultural
milieu in the world, creative, tragic, excessive, beautiful, wasteful.
- Ann Klefstad
Skot Foreman Fine Art, Ltd.
Although Purvis Young enjoyed painting as a child it wasn't until after
having been imprisoned as a young man, that he took up drawing again.
Purvis was inspired by the urban murals of Chicago and Detroit and
painting became a way to express his anger and frustration. He wanted
to paint the stories of his own neighborhood.
Biography from Outsider Folk Art Gallery
His first public
art in the early 70s was the Goodbread Alley project. The art
consisted of hundreds of pictures hung on boarded up buildings along
Fourteenth Street in Overton, his Miami neighborhood. The heart of the
neighborhood had been destroyed when I-395 was routed through the
community. Through art Purvis Young has continued to channel his anger
at the injustices of our society.
Purvis Young's style is naive,
expressionist and symbolic. He continues to be a prolific painter
motivated by the need to express his views of social injustice.
Art in America, January 2003
Purvis Young has substituted a lack of formal education with intensive
reading and study and is sophisticated about the history of art.
He applies his personal world view to the medium of paint to create a
visual language that expresses his concerns as much as it captures the
life of the people and city that surround him.
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After learning of the "Freedom Walls" created by artists in Detroit and
Chicago, Young decided in 1972, to create his own public mural at the
intersection of Northwest Third Avenue an 14th Street in Overtown,
Miami's inner-city coined "Good Bread Alley." The installation was
visible from the newly constructed Interstate 95, which had all but
dissected and consequently isolated his community from the rest of
Representing Young's unique view on life is a
symbolic vocabulary where city street scenes move to the rhythm of
life, wild horses roam free, "eyes of establishment" loom over, ancient
warriors do battle, immigrant-laden boats set sail, legendary jazz and
blues performers rip. It is here that Purvis Young easily, yet
effectively, expresses his true feelings.
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