Volume 34, No. 4 - Winter 1989
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1989 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.



"Lithuanian Art '89" (February 10 - March 5, 1989 at the Lithuanian Čiurlionis Art Gallery in Chicago) pays credit to the strength of the cultural emphasis that community has maintained outside its homeland. The assembled show covered a genuinely broad range of aesthetic territory without diluting the quality. There are few weak pieces. This makes the exhibition something more than a show of ethnic pride; it should play well to most general audiences.

It would naturally be disappointing if some strand of ethnic heritage did not run through the exhibit. It does both in the expected Eastern European earmarks and in some more subtle ways. Though not the most immediately detectable factor, there is a definite propensity toward painterly expressiveness in the full-bodied approach to painting, drawing and printmaking. Meekness is not to be seen in this range of figuration and representation. The represented artists are well oriented to the contemporary flow of art, but far from depersonalized or trendy. It is a show of expression.

Evidence of the overall progressive view of the flow of art is the presence of photomontage (Marija Ambrazaitis) hung  in the same context as the woodcuts by traditional masters.

In the context of that whole flow, works by Magdalena Stankūnas with more obvious folk references take on a special charm.

Jurgis Daugvila stands out in the ethnic vein. To his earlier recreations of the wayside shrines, he has added a soft, rich, weathered aura of color. The four works evolve the shrine genre into a very palatable area with incredible possibilities. Viewing these as transitional works, one can only imagine the jewel-like richness and elegance possible with more boldness.

Another folk extension that merits mention is the wall piece by Alfredas Stanevičius. He laminates and overlays wood in a large scale, sophisticated mimicry of weaving. It yields some rather intriguing subtle tone and color transitions beyond the relief sculpture concern and two-dimensional patterns.

An interesting dialogue between two ceramic pieces also takes place in one gallery. A grouping of ceramic folk figures in native Lithuanian costumes sits a few feet from a contemporary Chicago Imagist vessel. The figure grouping by Eleonora Marčiulionis is whimsical, colorful and mild mannered. The more freely formed piece by Rimas Visgirdą is brash, bold and crisp with rugged brushwork scrawling a distorted image in green and gold lustre. This exemplifies the range of the exhibit from the Eastern European intricate woodcut prints to paintings on plexiglass.

The most disarming work in the show is a painting done on the reverse side of plexiglass with enamels and metalics. It is pure yellow, green and red, painted simply and cleanly in broad areas with unflinching brushwork. The purity and intentional rawness of the execution beg an immediate emotional response. For icing Laima Simanavichus uses a strip of barbed wire to emphasize the horizontal plane of the high impact landscape.

The most elegant and contemporary piece comes from Vytas Sakalas. Aluminum built up in layers of geometric shapes forms a fragmented rectangle. The manner in which he fragments the basic shape with see-through windows, embellishes the metal's surface with print mater's gouging and engraving. He ties the package with oil colors on some segments, making an exciting work, formally and technically. The show speaks well of the community.

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List of artists who participated in "Lithuanian Art '89" exhibition: Arvydas Algminas, Marija Ambrozaitis, Edmundas Arbas, Rasa Arbas, Vanda Balukas, Jūratė Bigelis-Silverman, Ilona Brazdžionienė-Kerr, Eugenijus Budrys, Jokūbas Dagys, Alfonsas Dargis, Jurgis Daugvila, Ona Dolskaitė-Paškevičienė, Vilija Eiva, Marytė Gaižutis, Elena Gaputytė, Pranas Gasparo-nis, Leek Gruzdeff-Kraucevičiūtė, Vytautas Ignas, Jurgis Janavičius, Jolanta Janavičius, Danguolė Jurgutis, Vytautas Kašubą, Elena Kepalas, Kęstutis Kizevičius, Vida Krištolaitis, Yonė Kvietytė-Young, Pranas Lapė, Livija Lipaitė, Eleonora Marčiulionis, Aleksandras Marčiulionis, Janina Marks, Miriam Meras, Žibuntas Mikšys, Gražina Narkus-Kramer, Edita Nazaraitė, Mykolas Paškevičius, Jadvyga Paukštienė, Gintė Peciūra, Ilona Peteris, Audrius Plioplys, Ieva Pocius, Rolandas Poška, George Račkus, Vytas Sakalas, Jurgis Šapkus, Snaigė Šileikienė, Laima Simanavichus, Juozas Sodaitis, Zita Sodeika, Alfredas Stanevičius, Magdalena Stankūnė-Stankūnienė, Danguolė Stončiūtė-Kuolas, Marija Strasevičius, Rasa Sutkus, Ada Sutkus, Veronika Švabienė, Otis Tamašauskas, Anastazija Tamošaitis, Elena Urbaitis, Petras Vaškys, Vytautas O. Virkau, Rimas Visgirdą, Viktoras Vizgirda, Akvila Zavišaitė, Ringailė Zotovas, Marija Žukauskienė.


MARIA AMBROZAITIS (Chesterton, IN), "Anno Domini," 1988, photo collage, 32"x24"


JURGIS DAUGVILA (Beverly Shores, IN), "Altar", 1989, wood, 3'x5'


ALFREDAS STANEVIČIUS (Montevideo, Uruguay), "The dreams of Varnagira," 1988, wood, 33 x26 7/2"


ELEONORA MARČIULIONIS (Chicago, IL), "The Song Festival," 1989, ceramics, 18 1/2"x18"


RIMAS VISGIRDA (Champlain, IL), "Four is enough," teapot, 1987, ceramic: multi-fire, 16" x 16" x 6 1/4"


VYTAS .SAKALAS (Dorchester, MA), "Improving Relations with the Rectangle," # 36, 1987, oil on aluminum cutout, 30"x24"


PRANAS GASPARON1S (Los Angeles, CA), "Play" 1987, redwood, 16"x8"


"Copper and stone in Vilnius," 1989, colograph 23"xl7"


KĘSTUTIS }. KIZEVIČIUS (Cleveland, OH), "Looking Back," 1988, linocut, 21"x20", edition of 125


JUOZAS SODAITIS (Ormond Beach, FL),  "Sadutė", 1989, acrylic graphics, 20"x16"