PRISM PRINT INTERNATIONAL
for the love of art - for the love of humanity
Previous exhibitions -
PRISM 7 at the Galeria Spodki, Bialystok, Poland – 9 June - 9 July, 2016
IN VARIETATE CONCORDIA
Thanks to the generous efforts of our associate Tomasz M. Kukawski and the Regional Centre of Culture Animation with staff of the Spodki gallery, Prism was offered the opportunity of showing its growing collection of works by our associates in the large – and extremely round! – Galeria Spodki in Bialystok! This was a wonderful chance for us to show the works of our international artists alongside our Polish artists in the heartland of the great Polish graphic tradition.
This was a huge exhibition of 127 works by 33 artists. It revealed distinctive ideas, tastes and preoccupations, and generated a vigorous dialogue across the imagery encouraging the viewer to enter into the mind and soul of the artists by discovering their differences - and surprising similarities - and challenging preconceptions about other cultures.
Bialystok lies in the centre of the Podlaskie region of eastern Poland. A city of some 200,000 people, it nevertheless maintains an air of tranquility due to its wide streets and boulevards, and the number of beautiful trees. Four Prism artists travelled to Poland for the opening - Ian Brown, Yolanda Eveleens, Nigel Oxley and John Read - meeting with Tomasz Kukawski and his students. Tomasz kindly introduced them to Bialystok life and culture, and took them to nearby Suprasl with its museums of printmaking and icon painting.
Special thanks to: Tomasz Kukawski for... everything, really; to Maceij Gorski for kind help with many things not least difficult translations; to Cezary Jan Mielko, the director, for his enthusiastic engagement with our project; to Krystyna Kunicka and the other members of WOAK who worked so hard to get our large exhibition in place; to two others I know only by first names, the architect 'Tomasz' who guided us fascinatingly around the Palace and attended the opening, and to 'Gregor' who kindly guided us around the beautiful town of Suprasl. We had such an interesting time learning about Polish culture and history (and food, and... drinking!). We are hugely grateful to the sponsors shown above left for their support.
We were especially impressed by the committment and determination shown by the students and the extraordinary results from the perhaps smaller physical resources compared to western Europe. Teaching high-level skills and passing on the spirit of love for graphic art and its infinite possibilities is still paramount in the university system in Poland - hence the continuing high reputation and large numbers of seriously great graphic artists Poland has produced, and continues to produce. It was really eye-opening and encouraging to see this first hand! We are determined to bring more great artists from Poland into our exhibitions.
NEW ASSOCIATES for this exhibition!
Significantly, for this exhibition we had the honour to announce two very important artists in the art of print had consented to show their works and lend their invaluable support to our projec! From England we welcomed Stanley Jones - internationally famous for his role in the establishment and success of the Curwen Press in London, as well as his massive contribution towards the evolution of lithography over many years. From Japan we were delighted to welcome Tetsuya Noda - a major artist in the evolution of the modern Japanese print, recently given a solo exhibition in the British Museum, London, and justly famous internationally for his unique and long-running 'Diary' series of works. Professor Noda is a friend and supporter of Prism, having introduced some of our Japanese artists, through his past association with the London Metropolitan University, and through his assistance last year helping us connect with the Gallery Goto in Tokyo's Ginza.
Prism are really thrilled that moving forward with our international exhibitions we have been able to include such important and established artists, adding depth and experience to our range of early and mid-career artists, all of whom contribute to the critical artistic and cultural dialogue we continue with the world at large. A great development for us and an especially significant one as we were able to include them in our first Polish exhibition in Bialystok in June 2016!
ARTISTS SHOWING AT THE GALERIA SPODKI
The Galeria Spodki is located at: Ul. Sw. Rocha 14, 15-879 BIALYSTOK, POLAND
It is run by the very active Regional Centre of Culture Animation in Bialystok: WOAK - Wojewódzki Ośrodek Animacji Kultury w Białymstoku. The enthusiastic director is Cezary Jan Mielko.
See their web pages: http://www.woak.bialystok.pl/Default.aspx?pid=101&aiid=7222
Preface to Catalogue
We at Prism are immensely grateful to Tomasz M. Kukawski and the Galeria Spodki management for this opportunity to show the range and distinctive qualities of our associates’ work in the fine Spodki gallery.
Poland is well known around the world for its historical brilliance and great tradition in the graphic arts. We find exactly this in our three Polish associates – Tomas M. Kukawski, Joanna Piech and Marcin Bialas, and in their impressive example lies the opportunity of a foil for the diverse ideas, styles and techniques of the other artists showing here. Deep within all of their work lies the complexity of their personal and cultural histories. An exhibition such as this is a wonderful chance to experience close up the living vitality of unfamiliar and equally significant cultures by this contrast bursting through the print surface – which may appear at first familiar or even apparently universal. Nothing could be further from the truth; as the world draws ever closer in social and economic spheres, especially as the internet has superseded TV as the globalising influence creator, individually we still find a need to feel an identity which is our own to balance the often overwhelming attraction of the superficially universal internationalism – albeit largely, and narrowly, Western in origin and emphasis.
We, and our histories, demand the opportunity to at the same time keep what is our inheritance and our birthright and also feel free to operate in this wider international sphere dominated by English and market-driven artefacts. Through our art we can achieve this, speaking ‘all tongues at once’ in a polyglot visual mode which has an ancient universality defying the shallowness of contemporary fashions.
Through us, as artists, the past can speak to the future, keeping alive the secret realities of our old cultures even as we embrace the throbbing vibrance of the new. Making art through printmaking renders the opportunity to have these powerful individual insights shared with many more people than is possible with the singular artwork.
Prism Print International acquires its name from the image of a prism splitting white light into seven colours; we try to expose what it is about the works of artists from differing cultures which is distinctive and valuable and to reveal it in our exhibitions. In the short space of four years of showing in various countries Prism has found both an audience for this approach and also an expanding connection with many artists who wish to be shown in this light.
Because we show what the artists choose, rather than imposing some arbitrary thematic limitation, we occupy a somewhat unique position.Our non-profit approach creates the difficulty of continuing economically but it does grant us the coveted freedom to show as we wish. The distinctive path Prism takes lies in emphasising cultural exchange as the core part of our activities, since although all of the principals are artists, we are deeply engaged in cross-cultural matters as well.
This is significant in that we are not simply levering people out of their cultures onto the ‘world stage’; rather, we look in the other direction at what it is those individuals are already immersed in which is unique and valuable to world culture generally. We believe that is what needs to be preserved and promoted through our exhibitions.
It is a cornerstone of Prism’s constitution that every culture is equally valuable and should be given an equal place at the feast of world arts. This can be empowering for the artists and, in a way, legitimising. People from dominant cultures can unintentionally imply that the work of smaller groups is considered interesting but essentially backward or of niche importance, whilst thinking they are actually promoting them. That is why we place all our artists in the same way, side-by-side, and give equal coverage to all.
Prism curator and co-founder with Nigel Oxley
Tetsuya Noda - Diary April 9th,15 -Woodblock, mimeograph, silkscreen. 54 x 54cm - 2015
Stanley Jones – Zenobia – Lithograph 57 x 3 9.5/60.5 x 42.5cm Ed46/50 -1970
Images: Tomasz M. Kukawski, Wendy Shirvani and John Read
John, Tomasz and Nigel at the Prism 7 Opening
Nigel Oxley - Pt. 1. The Muhlberg Suite: Look At Me And Remember - Multiple process, 60 x 51 cms - 2016
Prism will be at the IXth Engraving Exhibition in the Santa Maria della Pietà in Cremona, Italy, September 24 - October 29, 2017!