GERSHON ISKOWITZ, R.C.A.
Private Collection, Toronto
Adele Freedman, Gershon Iskowitz: Painter of Light, Merritt Publishing Company Limited, Toronto, 1982, pages 87 and 90.
During the early 1960s, Gershon Iskowitz (1921-1988) took as his main subject landscapes, particularly trees, although he also executed a small number of self-portraits at this time. Occasionally, Iskowitz’s focus shifted upward to the sky. Here Iskowitz has rendered the subject distinct and separate from the earth below, that is, without an obvious horizon. While some viewers may see a lake, shoreline and night sky, others take the view that this painting is entirely sky - the angle of attack being much steeper than a traditional two-thirds sky/one-third land composition. Either way, colour and texture are purposefully controlled and sensation, not topography or astronomy, seems to be the central concern. In Untitled, 1961, whispy streaks of orange, putty and blue evoke something delightfully dizzying, a sonnet to the sky at dusk. Humans gaze upward for salvation (from a god) or for information (in way finding). Perhaps Iskowitz, who had been victimized by the Second World War, found answers to his own questions here, too. Robert Fulford refers to Iskowitz’s landscapes as “gentle poetry,” affirming Iskowitz’s works as, “a poet-painter’s love poem to the spacious freedom of Canada’s land, water-ways and skies.”