Reviews / The Soho Weekly News

March 1979

Ronald Markman used to paint on flat surfaces, like other painters. Recently he turned to creating painted wooden assemblages, and in so doing has produced some of the most enjoyable works on view this month.
Each assemblage is a series of borders or frames that are more often of flat wood, but occasionally are of knobs, blocks or little constructed shapes. The central area in each assemblage is always something different, and special. A mirror, a city skyline in relief, stripes, grids, blue light bulbs (turned on), are examples of some of them.
Every square inch of these works is painted, with flat color or with decorative (often floral) patterns or, best of all, with tiny caricatures and their speeches. Their language revolves around the theme of each particular work; Numbers (1978), for example, features a bewildering array of figures and their numerical utterances, including a nude, complacent lady on an eight ball who counts off the seven deadly sins. The series ends with Map (1977), in which a cute redhead in the outer border look out at us and says, as if for her creator: “I love being decorative.”