Artist Liz Markus happened upon WIJW while searching for Billy Baldwin interiors online — as you know, we do love Baldwin, and have featured him on WIJW quite a lot over the years. In any case, we were sadly unable to see Markus’ recent show, “Town and Country” at the Nathalie Karg Gallery – it was featured on Vogue.com as one of the top four exhibitions to see (that were NOT Jeff Koons). Thankfully though, Markus graciously allowed us a lovely studio visit.
Markus’ portraits have a certain fresh, elegant chic, in synergy with the iconic women they capture. There’s a gratifying reciprocity between technique and subject matter in her works – a meeting of art and icon that, to me, elicits the mood of some of the classic Slim Aaron photographs I love so much. A ravishing bouquet of thinned and often bleeding colors applied with a quick, assured, and lively stroke, makes these works by Markus perfect for the interiors I’m creating for my clients.
As always I love to get artists’ take on their work and journey. Markus shares:
My bodies of work reflect different periods of my life. A series of psychedelic hippie paintings reflects the impressions I had of life as a child in the 1970’s. Attending prep school I became enamored of WASP culture. Compared to my sometimes difficult home life, suppressing all emotion while stressing proper etiquette sounded safe and appealing. My paintings began to reflect that culture, most prominently in my series of Nancy Reagan portraits, where the bleeding paint distorts the “perfect” façade she projects to the world allowing for a more psychological read of her. After exploring 1980’s punk and new wave culture, as well as love and landscapes, I turned my eye back to WASP culture, specifically the homes they lived in.
A chance purchase of a Sister Parish biography while in London began a continuing obsession with the great American interior designers of the 20th century. After Sister, I read everything I could find on Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley, and others. In 2013 I began to paint images of their rooms. Unable to find an image of Hadley’s famous red hallway without him in it, I included his figure in the painting. Having a human presence in the work made it more compelling, it seemed to offer the viewer a way into the painting. I began to look for images of the people who naturally populate the rooms I love. I found a great image of Lee Radziwill, dressed in Lanvin and standing in a red room. Gradually the rooms became less important as the paintings turned into portraits of the great socialites from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. These very glamorous and powerful women often had great tragedy in their lives. With my technique of using paint to stain unprimed canvas the images become distorted and it appears that the inner lives of the women are revealed.
Markus is an artist after my own heart – all of the incredible connections we share and admire have made me an instant fan. I am so looking forward to following Markus and her rise to stardom. Do make a point to peruse her website and procure one of her amazing works!
Dressed for a studio visit with Markus, I’m sporting a Tom Ford “Spencer” jacket in ink and ivory silk glen plaid and pale blue mini herringbone cotton shirt, Cassette citron yellow jeans, Gucci navy suede loafers, a fabulous blue woven leather belt by Adriano Meneghetti (more on this in an upcoming post) pearl and pale blue sapphire cuff links, Rolex, yellow silk retro print pocket square by Charvet and my fragrance is Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.