June 15, 2008

Hackett on Seattle artist Sherry Markovitz

Sherry Markovitz, 60, currently has a retrospective at the Bellevue Arts Center and a show of recent work at Greg Kucera. The Seattle artist is best known for her beaded, richly-adorned papier-mâché animal head trophies and dolls, which explore art and craft, life and death and metaphors of gender and identity. In the Seattle P-I Regina Hackett writes that Markovitz's work is labor intensive, but the labor doesn't show. "Encrusted as they are, they are spare with a serene confidence in their ability to express the complexities that are their reasons for being. Lately, she is painting in gouache on silk, loading the surfaces before tossing the results in the washing machine and painting again, hanging them on clotheslines to dry with 'the right amount of wrinkle.' Because the silk retains impressions from earlier painting, they are in the end ghostly shadows of other faces beside the faces that dominate. These silks hang lightly on the wall, and the paintings on them could be dreams, half of dolls and half of people, dolls and people merged. In 'Mother and Daughter' (gouache, velvet and beads on silk), she and her mother are both separate and fused, two people whose bond causes their boundaries to blur. Hung around the front room of the Greg Kucera Gallery, the paintings remind her of her first major exhibit at and/or, the photos that wrapped the room to tell a story. The Bellevue Arts Museum has never looked so light and contemplative as it does with her work in it. The Kucera show features recent work, including the paintings on silk. Having just taken a number of them to Chicago for the Chicago Art Fair, Kucera was startled when people came up to him and asked, 'Is this artist Jewish?'
'Yes,' he said, mystified as to how they knew. The weight of her culture is in her work, and her brilliance is that she makes it float." Read more.

"Sherry Markovitz: Shimmer," curated by Chris Bruce and Keith Wells at Washington State University. Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA. Through Sept. 7. Travels to Schneider Museum of Art, Southern Oregon University, Ashland, WA, September 25, 2008 - December 13, 2008.
"Sherry Markovitz: The True Story," Greg Kucera, Seattle, WA. Through June 28, 2008.

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