Dr. Bernd Gottberg

Makeski Goran

The vibrant and colorful world of the paintbrush-wielding artists, prosaically known as painters, draws the distinction between two opposing species: those who work from a given idea and those who work from spontaneous intuition. Where the former seeks to translate a clearly formulated concept into artistic reality through the use of sketches and studies, the latter trusts to the oft-times convulsive emotional surges that guides their hand and leads them to pick up paintbrush and canvas. In the process of this eruptive-emotional outburst the motif slowly takes shape as the pictorial figure appears.

The Macedonian artist Makeshi Goran, born in Skopje in 1964, undoubtedly belongs to this latter grouping. During his initial artistic development, he found an invaluable teacher, assistant, and adviser in his father Jordan, an artist in his own right. This relationship continued even once Makeski came to believe he had found his own artistic voice. But at what point can an artist really claim to have found his or her own voice, even after they have found what is generically called their own style?

Numerous artist residencies have shaped Makeski’s artistic career. These have led him to locations all along the Mediterranean and European coastline. His personal affinity for the sea and its shoreline quickly becomes evident to any observer of his work attuned to this artistic sensitivity become color. He has successfully completed various residencies, study programs, and workshops, for instance with Christine Zech in Münchenstein (Switzerland) and with Alvaro Castagnet on the Costa Brava. With the exception of the Alpine realm that he has made his adopted home, he has favored working locations with some kind of maritime connection.

While it is certainly correct to classify Makeski as an abstract painter, this description falls short of his artistic practice. Where his sensitivity dictates, his artwork will follow a path that can indeed culminate in representational and naturalistic motifs. Such is the case with the watercolor “Sunset” (2014) or the acrylic painting “Surf ”(2014). Currently his work has followed a path that has led him to the Berlin Gallery Dikmayer Berlin Mitte after exhibitions on the Costa Brava (Roses), at the Solothurn Art Museum (Power of Earth), and at the Swiss Art Day in Münchenstein.

As for the tools of his trade, Makeski clearly knows the materials he prefers for his abstract work. These include paper of different type and quality and above all watercolor. However, this does not mean he will disregard the classical stretched canvas. But his evident love of paper and watercolor clearly speaks to his background as a trained draftsman and from which he gains a direct and immediate relationship to these materials. This is especially true of his preference for the surface of refined paper that at times even appears to have vintage qualities.

The discreet and sensitive custom frames of the Gallery Dikmayer Berlin Mitte further heighten the expressive force and effect of his paintings.

To turn now to the cardinal question that can no longer be contained: how and in what way can the motifs of Makeski speak to me, the observer? Which of my strings do they pluck, where do they strike a chord? Whenever I come before his figures as they writhe and twist and mingle, even repel and rebuff one another, I find myself entering, strangely touched and moved, a magical realm of mythical creatures and cursed fables, their faces changing continuously.

At times I am reminded of the long forgotten encounters with the wood spirits of my childhood days: the ivy-crowned elves and kindhearted fairies, the cunning gnomes, wily trolls, and wicked dwarves. Other times I find myself recalling trysts with gold-locked mermaids that glide across the sea on clouds of foam or remembering encounters with nymphs and water-spirits such as the beautiful Thetis or the mysterious Cretan Princess Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos. However, not all these encounters unfold quite so harmlessly, for the sea is full of treacherous even vengeful and bloodthirsty sirens, Medusas, or gorgons, as seem to appear in Makeski’s latest work “Triptych.”

Woe betides the viewer who comes too close to these grotesque creatures of the ocean depths! Or who approaches moody, cantankerous Kynops, that unloved brother of the mighty sea god and whom he cast into the ocean in anger near Patmos, there to churn the waves and toss the waters, throwing up terrifying whirlpools that ever since threaten to devour all and sundry.

These indeed are the poetically internalized pictures and motifs that a Makeski can cast before the attendant observers with his textured and trembling swathes of color to elicit a sense of warmth and happiness or even a frosty feeling of frightful horror. There is nothing left but: look and marvel at this miraculous world that Makeski conjures. It is worth it, not least for those young at heart, for they do not age.

Most recently the artist showed a total of eight works of different shapes and sizes at the 17th International Art Fair Berlin. These works, mentioned in the text above, were on view at the exhibition center Fischerinsel-Passagen of the Gallery Dikmayer in the heart of the German capital.

Dr. Bernd Gottberg, Curator at the Berlin Galerie Dikmayer

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