“Painting celebrates no other enigma but that of visibility.”
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Eye and Mind
In his new exhibition Joshua Borkovsky exhibits new paintings from the Leda and the Swan (Homage to Tintoretto) cycle and paintings from the Vera Icon cycle.
Borkovsky’s work predominantly features phantasmagoric imagery, such as the silhouettes of sailing ships and the cartographic images in his paintings of the early 1990s. In later years, this preoccupation yielded crystal chandeliers reflected in mirrors, anamorphic photographs of gardens and the recent paintings of the Echo & Narcissus cycle.
Borkovsky’s art demands the viewer’s active presence and concentrated observation, leading him, paradoxically, to question seeing and to doubt the truth in what is reflected.
The same is true of the paintings on view in the present show. The paintings from the Leda and the Swan cycle (oil on canvas) and the paintings from the Vera Icon cycle (Tempera on gesso on wood) continue the characteristic abstraction, concentration and reduction in Borkovsky’s work. It is a painting that in the words of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the French philosopher and thinker, “comes from the eye and addresses itself to the eye”. But it is also a painting that enables, confirms and simultaneously doubts seeing; the viewer is not certain what he sees, what its meaning is, and what the “true” image is. Echoic of Rashomon, the viewer remains uncertain – what is seen, what was really there, what the “true” image, the Vera Icon, is and if it is possible at all. The doubt that is eminent to these paintings and their creation becomes the viewer’s doubt, every viewer at any time.
* Vera Icon – “true image”: a concept, originally from Latin and Greek, that deals with the questions of the possibility and veracity of representation –of the divine representation in particular and any representation in general. This concept exists since the beginning of Christianity signifying the true presence of Christ through images known by their Greek name as acheiropoietos – not made by hand. One example is St. Veronica’s Vernicle (by erroneous etymological connection the name Veronica was associated with Vera Icon).