Brent Gill, Staff Writer
When Professor Jeff Markowsky isn’t teaching a course at SCAD, he spends most of his time as an “en plein air” or open-air painter. He packs his oil painting kit, sets it up in view of an interesting landscape and paints the scene all at once. One can snap a photo and hope to refine the scene later in the studio but for the most part, your painting in the moment is what you get.
Markowsky’s studio work was on display Friday at Gallery Espresso. These works were done using a process called taping, where the artist masks regular sections of the canvas with tape, then paints the entire landscape before removing the tape. The end result is something like an abstract vignette, splashes of color crossing the landscape in vertical bars. Many scenes depict familiar Savannah lanes.
“A few of my paintings I like because they’re more abstract,” Markowsky said. “They could be any street.”
Professor Markowsky enjoys the various challenges of studio work where he can experiment with color mixtures he might not use in plein air painting. He can also use the taping process to deconstruct the initial painting and create something new.
Markwosky uses stages to play with a painting’s mood, using broken paint handling to manipulate time.
“It’s several memories, several glimpses,” he said. “I find the one point perspective the perfect foil to play against the flatness of value shapes and tonal variety as light floods and drips over the patina of architectural elements. The summer heat and humidity in particular has an exquisite brilliance to the colors with a plethora of variety to the green and just enough wobbly phone poles to give it unquestionable character.”
Sally Kroehnke, a fan of Markowsky’s work, was at the reception Friday.
“It reminds me of streets in Paris, of their bright energy,” she said. “It reminds me of my own experiments with digital media, and that feel of wonderment. It’s almost as if you’re looking through a window of time, like looking through sheets of water.”
To younger, newer artists, Markowsky said, “You’ve got to follow your bliss and everything else just falls into place. There’s this mysterious place you’ve got to investigate.”
Jeff Markowsky’s “Equalization” series will be at Gallery Espresso through Sept. 28. More of his work, including his plein air and figure studies can be found at www.jeffmarkowsky.com.