Dixon Gallery and Gardens / 4339 Park Ave. January 14 - April 14th

Remy Miller, Joe Morzuch

Remy Miller and Joe Morzuch worked together as professors at Memphis College of Art between 2013 and 2018. Their close friendship and shared dedication to painting has withstood the closure of the school and new institutional affiliations (Miller now teaches at East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City while Morzuch is a member of the art department at Mississippi State University in Starkville). The joint exhibition Marking Time places two distinct bodies of work into counterpoint—Miller’s bold, impressively-scaled gouache landscapes and Morzuch’s sensitive and introspective oil-on-canvas still lifes and self-portraits.

Miller and Morzuch are observational painters. Rather than illustrating grand narratives, they look very closely at the world around them and often paint unpretentious objects: a stepladder in the studio or a broken branch snagged in a creek. Both artists choose to elevate the humble, looking for beauty and meaning in the everyday. They see a kinship with painters of the past including the French artist Jean Siméon Chardin (1699 – 1779) whose kitchen pots and vegetables are stark and perceptive portrayals of the ordinary, and Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) who imbued wheatfields and simple chairs with a sense of wonder and the infinite. Miller and Morzuch also seek immediacy and painterliness in their art. Morzuch’s surfaces are encrusted and impastoed while Miller actively courts the runs and bleeds made possible by water-based paints. Mark-making is essential to both artists. There is visual tension between the marks made by brushes or knives and the images that these same marks define. The accumulation of strokes, blotches, and scrapes is the record of each painting’s own making and a way of marking the inevitable flow of time.