Opening Reception: Thursday April 06 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Newzones is proud to present a solo exhibition of important paintings by Gershon Iskowitz.
Gershon Iskowitz was born in 1921 in Kielce, Poland where he spent his childhood.After surviving internment during the Second World War, Iskowitz was sent to recover in Germany. In 1947 he privately studied with Oskar Kokoschka at the Munich Academy.In 1949 he immigrated to Toronto.Gershon was known to spend his days in bars and cafés along Spadina Avenue mentoring artists and in the evenings he retreated to his studio where through the night he painted his intensely personal visions - keeping painting alive at a time when the art establishment proclaimed painting was dead.
Initially Iskowitz's work documented painful wartime imagery and memories.Gradually his paintings and drawings transformed to loose impressions of the countryside and by the sixties became expressive abstractions of light and colour.A major shift - a signature style evolved - when in 1967, Iskowitz took his first helicopter ride around the vicinity of Churchill, Manitoba.Exhilarated by the experience, impressed by the pattern of brilliant colours and forms his colour became more intense, combining texture and transparency by painting layer after layer of irregular forms.Looking down through patches of clouds, his helicopter trips transformed his views of the landscape - "my paintings are not abstract, they are real, they are very very much real, I see those things…I paint what I see."Iskowitz's aerial views of the land continue to influence the work of artists today -reflecting the expansiveness of Canada's vast territories and quality of Northern light.
Early in Gershon Iskowitz's career he exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada and in 1972 he was one of two artists representing Canada at the XXXVI Venice Biennial in Venice, Italy.In 1982 the Art Gallery of Ontario organized a retrospective exhibition as well as published a book on the artist's life and his art.This exhibition traveled to museums across the country and then to Canada House in London, England.In 1985 the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize were established with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts."We were born for the future, not for today", said Iskowitz, leaving a part of himself to survive and to benefit others as he had benefited from his life in Canada.Each year the Foundation awards the Gershon Iskowitz Prize - a 25,000 dollar award - one of the most prestigious visual arts awards in our country; however, Iskowitz's greatest contribution was providing the inspiration for others as he devoted his life to art.
Newzones is honoured and privileged to present a selection of superb paintings by the late Gershon Iskowitz who was able to transcend the horror of the experiences of his youth to create a body of work filled with light, brilliant colour and joy.