John Marx’s watercolors, first published in the Architectural Review, are a captivating example of an architect’s way of thinking. Subtle and quiet they are nonetheless compelling works in how they tackle a sense of place, of inhabiting space and time all the while resonating with the core of one’s inner being. There is an existential quality to these watercolors that is rare to be found in this medium that is something akin to the psychologically piercing observational quality of artists like De Chirico or Hopper.
As architects strive to communicate their ideas, it is interesting to explore the world of Marx’s watercolors as an example of a humane approach to conveying emotional meaning in relation to our environment. Marx’s subject matter read like “built landscapes” heightening the role of the human-made yet wholly in balance with the natural world. This is a message and sentiment that is perhaps more important than ever to relay to audiences.