I continue on the theme Nature Nurtured with the work of Jeff Markowsky. In committing to immersion in the exhibition titled, Equalization, Markowsky's works are currently on view until September 28 at Gallery Espresso. This exhibition provides a panoramic vestige in the conversation of the relationship between man and nature.
The exhibition contains six large-scale images all in one point vanishing perspective. Each image shares in subject and method, and is a rarely seen vista of the Savannah landscape.
Known for his astute technique in portraiture, landscape, and still life, Markowsky provides us with an uninhibited view of the city making his subject the alley, or depending on where you are from, back lane. A study he has immersed himself for some time, this time choosing specifically to depict the space in large-scale format and from a single vantage point. He causes the viewer to contemplate the space from the sidewalk as if passing by. Stopping one in their tracks and inviting his audience to contemplate what occurs in the distance. These paintings have the ability to transform the spectator into a deep and private space, the painter exercises his ability to transport one through the back lanes. We feel as if we are traveling through them and there is simultaneity of public and private occurring in this body of images. We seem to be invited in, however, are stopped by the nature of the back way. Traditionally the back entrance of a home reserved for the servants, children, dog or cat. We enter our own homes from the rear, the front door reserved for privileged guests. In a city like Savannah, the back alley is the place for the dumpster and one finds septic tanks, or compost turners, rodents and trash. In Markowsky’s paintings, however there is a Hopper like quiet. As if coming upon the lane in the early morning hours when no one is around, we peek around walls and peer into crevices, into the silent lane. Utilizing a public perspective, the one point vantage allows us to see clear through to the other end. The artist envisions this private public duality stating, “…The lane is often an overlooked part of our neighborhoods and in fact, it is illegal to loiter there. Because foot traffic keeps generally to the streets, the lanes become fragments and broken visual sensations to passersby. My intention is to remind and bring significance to the beauty of an overlooked utilitarian aspect of our neighborhood and our city.”
Upon entering the space, in the first image the steeples of the church stand boldly in the distance reminiscent of religious influence on our city. The painting reminds us, if lawmakers and religious leaders are the only ones to tell the story of the people, how limited a history would be. Using a technique of taping the surface of the painting, Markowsky alters the center of attention creating an interesting interplay, a shifting focus of near and far. By using a single vanishing point and the consistency in the repetition of widths in gray, we view as if in the process of walking or riding by in or on a vehicle. At close view, shapes in the works minutely jumble in their complexity. Standing back the interaction of elements, color, light, shadow and depth of field, fuse to make each image coalesce.
When contemplating these works I encourage the audience to move beyond the busy atmosphere of the coffee shop. For, to stand in the middle of the installed exhibition is evidence of the need to move beyond the interior space. The alleys become portals to the outdoors they depict by making one keenly aware of Savannah’s domestic traffic just outside the window.
In the title and theme, Equalization, Jeff Markowsky invites us to slow down and reminds us of the reality of the city as nature. Equalization is prominent in the fusion of elements as image moves rapidly past; yet, slows down in the context of time and perspective, and finally, equalization in vantage points of near and far.
For more information about Jeff Markowsky’s exhibition: