Taking a pop-art approach to the tradition of color-field painting, Liz Markus finds a successful territory between the abstract and figurative. Central to this group of paintings is the emergence of an “Easy Rider” figure from the fields of controlled color washes. A combination of motorcycle rebel and bearded hippie, this iconic figure with aviator sunglasses is used by Markus to portray an overseeing spirit of freedom and to bring back the forgotten ideals of peace.
Markus’s amazing sense of color guides her through the process which is a kind of controlled chaos. In the tradition of her heroes such as Morris Louis, Markus pours the paint, guiding it around the raw, unprimed canvas. Combine this process with her obsession with hippie culture and the result is a successful marriage of abstract and figurative with the imagery emerging from the painting in a kind of psychedelic rorschach test.
Her technique lends itself well to the subject matter with the swirling batik and tie-dye patterns which can go from sunny, happy color and harmony to dark, moody, heavily saturated tones. The good and bad trips of psychedelia come to mind along with failed utopias and the decay of vision and innocence.
The titles of her paintings come from the music of the era, “Oh Mary, I’m In Deep Water”, “Everything’s Gonna Be Everything”, “Come and See Me When the World Has Set You Free” (John Phillips, Jimi Hendrix, America) suggesting the narrative in the abstraction.