The Look of Love is Liz Markus’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery and her first to exclusively feature landscapes. With all the immediacy of plein air painting these large canvases approximate the grandeur of a long-lost era of salons and fin de siècle splendor, all the while referencing recent pop culture, a mix that reverberates for the artist by dint of her own disparate passions.

Inspired by Frederic Church's dramatic 19th century landscapes and the Florida Highwaymen, a self-taught group of African-American artists self-named “The Last Great American Art Movement of the 20th Century,” her renderings of classic ocean sunsets, arctic glaciers, rocky cliffs and dramatic waterfalls also serve as stand-ins for the drama of romantic relationships. She transforms the tightly rendered compositions of the Hudson River masters and quaint oil paintings by Sunday tourists into loose, prismatic visions distinctly her own. Some works are from straight-forward perspectives, while others are abruptly interrupted by bands of unnatural color. The finished results vary from clearly recognizable landmarks, such as Niagara Falls, to hazy seaside images that conjure up hurricanes as much as picture-postcards depicting long romantic walks on the beach.

While a soundtrack of Burt Bacharach played in the studio, Markus worked on the floor, applying acrylic paint to unprimed canvases, a tricky and delicate technique that allows for no mistakes but occasionally results in happy accidents. With a remarkable degree of control, Markus manipulates the paint with brushes and water, as the pigments saturate and bind with the raw canvas. This technique yields both masterful and random effects that mimic nature itself: whether misty, luminous, stark or drenched, her sky is limitless and her reservoirs deep.

Installation View: Liz Markus The Look of Love, ZieherSmith

Installation View: Liz Markus The Look of Love, ZieherSmith

Installation View: Liz Markus The Look of Love, ZieherSmith

Installation View: Liz Markus The Look of Love, ZieherSmith


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