Reviews / The Chicago Tribune

March 1981

Alan Artner

RONALD MARKMAN (Dart, 155 E. Ohio St.): Markman taught color at the Art Institute from 1960 to 1964. One of his students was Jim Nutt, whose chromatic intensity and mosaiclike surfaces reflect the teacher’s influence. This has not been acknowledged, so far as I know; but now that the Imagist lobby has weakened, perhaps Markman will be accorded his place.
The artist’s painted wood reliefs display an interest in folk art, vernacular decoration, and comic book culture. All this comes together in concentric rectangles and triangles that bear additional references to other painters.
Markman might poke fun at his teacher, Josef Albers, or Gene Davis or Jasper Johns, but the humor is very gentle. It also is a single element in works of prodigal invention. Puns, caricatures, abstract patterns, and busy constructed passages elbow each other in a visual hurly-burly not without charm. However, a little of it goes a long way, and small doses are recommended. (Through April 1.)