GERSHON ISKOWITZ, R.C.A.
Moos Gallery Ltd., Toronto
Joyner Fine Art, November 21, 1997 (lot 78)
Private Collection, Ontario
Over the course of his career, Iskowitz developed a distinctive form of artistic expression which resists association with any particular art movement. The work produced in Canada after his arrival in 1949 was based on personal memories of the Holocaust. This gradually gave way to painting the landscape around Parry Sound in the mid-1950s, using watercolour for his experiments in abstraction. By 1960, he had embraced abstraction. Flying over the sub-arctic landscape in 1967, the artist was impressed by the view of the terrain seen through patchy clouds. This experience would be important in setting the course for his future work. Prelude #6 was painted the following year and shows Iskowitz evolving a distinct vocabulary, with small dabs of pure colour clustered together against a mottled ground of softer hues.
These paintings were painted in the studio at night. While they may have been inspired by memories of a landscape, Iskowitz steered away from literalism, for it was the experience of pure painting that held meaning for him.
The title, Prelude, is an introductory piece of music; perhaps Iskowitz was signaling the beginning of a new phase in his art, one without reference to the seasons or times of day.
We thank Christine Boyanoski for contributing the above essay.