Peter Schuyff’s work was first received in the early ’80s among a host of ironic gestures, which included Philip Taffe’s appropriation of exhausted styles in decoupage, Meyer Vaisman’s reduction of the painting to a cartoon of the surface it is wrought on, and Peter Halley’s minimal cells. What separated Schuyff from the rest of these artists was a bat’s squeak of traditionalism. His work allowed for a degree of less mediated painterly pleasure and a transition from painting to painting predicated on overtly formal issues. Schuyff had no specific bone to pick with formalism; instead, he honed in on a playful brand of irony that could embrace, as well as pastiche, both Modernist formal conventions and illusionism.
If irony can be thought of as the gulf between expectation and fulfillment, or as the illusion of fulfillment, then tromp l’oeil and painterly illusionism more generally are effects
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