Polish avant garde artist Włodzimierz Borowski

"Włodzimierz Borowski was one of the artists whose work reflects the major changes in Polish avant-garde art from the 1950s until the end of the 1970s. He was born in 1930 in Kurów in Lubelszczyzna, and died on December 31st 2008 in Warsaw. Between 1956 and 1959 he studied art history at the Catholic University in Lublin, where – even during the times of Stalinist propaganda – some philosophical freedom persisted.
During the 'thaw' period after 1956, he was a student of Jacek Woźniakowski, who was one of the first professors to organise lectures about contemporary international art. Influenced by these lectures, Borowski with some of his friends decided to pursue some activities leading to the self-education and animation of Lublin’s cultural milieu, fighting – as Piotr Majewski wrote – its inferiority complex. This initiative resulted in the creation of the Zamek group, which not only rose to fame among Polish modernists but also among the milieu of the Parisian Phases movement, joining late informal painting with the original concept of 'structural art'. The group’s work is still highly regarded by art critics today. Among the group’s members were the unjustly unappreciated Tytus Dzieduszycki (who later moved to France) and Jan Ziemski (who remained in Lublin and strengthened his position as one of the most interesting local artists). Apart from them, young art critics also took part in the group. Some of them, like Wiesław Borowski, Urszula Czartoryska, Jerzy Ludwiński, and Hanna Ptaszkowska, later turned out to be great organizers of artistic life in different venues. It’s thanks to them that the magazine Struktury (Structures) was established as an addition to the literary Kamena, and 11 issues were published between 1959 and 1961. Borowski himself, after graduating and leaving Lublin, worked for Warsaw galleries Foksal and Repassage, and years later also for the Labirynt and Labirynt 2 galleries in Lublin.

 When hidden light bulbs were switched on, the artons came to life. Pieces of glass and rubber snakes led the light outside, parts of the images switched on and off rhythmically. When artony were asleep, they seemed trivial, even trashy; it was the light and its rhythm that turned them into autonomous organisms. Even though these realizations by Borowski are considered an homage to Marcel Duchamp, it must be underlined that their physical status of 'a ready-made work of art' was less important than the final effect – the illusion of movement created by the changing light, reminiscent of the character of kinetic art.
To some extent these actions can be considered an important step towards going beyond the work itself – the beginning of environment. Later works by the artist can also be put in this context. Manifest lustrzany (Manilus) / Mirror manifesto (Manilus) was realized during the 1st Biennale of Spatial Art in Elbląg in 1965. 'It was a mirror',  wrote Ludwiński, 'on which the artist painted and put different decorations, but everyone could see themself in this collage'. The audience was multiplied, and the artist turned their attention to themselves: they were the object of an artistic process, while he disappeared.

 he following actions by Borowski were a continuation of these poetics, they also started to connect elements of environment, happening, conceptual art. In this regard the I Syncretic Show (presented in Lublin and in Warsaw in 1966) was especially significant: elements of a traditional art exhibition were connected to the arrangement of the gallery space and to a game played with the presence of the spectator. The artist displayed his early paintings, artony and mirrors in the gallery, thus creating a symmetrical whole enriched with containers filled with a chemical substance, out of which, during the vernissage, colourful 'plants' grew. This space was amplified by mirror reflections. The spectators and participants of the display became one of its parts, an inalienable element of the undertaking, which was rather an artistic performance than an exposition of ready-made, finished, unchanging works of art. The same structural elements were used during the Warsaw exposition, which became a sum of his work up to that point.
(Author: Małgorzata Kitowska-Łysiak, Art History Department KUL, March 2004, edited in January 2009, translated by N. Mętrak-Ruda, October 2015. culture.pl )

Post-Minimalism Alan Shields

"Alan Shields was a celebrated American Post-Minimalist artist. His brightly colored, unstretched textile paintings investigated the grid: Often using industrial cotton belting, Shields cut, beaded, sewed, and dyed monumental abstract pieces, using crafting techniques or humble materials throughout his interdisciplinary practice. Shields’ work is both playful and psychedelic, evocative of the counter-culture scene of his time. Influenced by the radical ideas and designs of architect Buckminster Fuller, Shields began incorporating geodesic-like tent structures in his work, such as Whirling Dervish (1968–70) and Dance Bag (1985). Born on February 4, 1944 in Herington, KS, Shields studied studio art, civil engineering, and theater at Kansas State University, but never graduated. His career began with a successful show in 1969 at Paula Cooper Gallery, which continued to exhibit his work for the rest of his life. Shields became a memorable figure in the New York art scene, known his hand-made clothes featuring colorful patterns and beads. Today, his work is included in important collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among many others. Shields died December 13, 2005 in Shelter Island, NY at the age of 61."(artnet.com)


Ceramic art Karen Karnes

Karen Karnes (November 17, 1925 – July 12, 2016) was an American ceramist, best known for her earth toned stoneware ceramics. She was born in 1925 in New York City, where she attended art schools for children. Her garment worker parents were Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants, and the family lived in the Bronx Coops. Karen was influenced in many ways by her parents' communist philosophies, and has professed respect for working in small communities.
In 1967, Karnes first experimented with salt-firing at a workshop at the Penland School of Crafts.Karnes' more recent work deal with contemporary vessels, which are given different attention to design than her original pottery. She still today makes many traditionally functional forms. Today Karen primarily fills her kilns with more contemporary forms, but she continues to produce casseroles, teapots, cups and bowls.
Another of her most well-known forms is the cut-lid jar, a form she first made at a workshop with Paulus Berensohn. Karnes continued to experiment with this form from the late 1960s until she stopped throwing.
Karen decided to live the rest of her life on a farm, working with clay and using old firing practices such as wood and salt firing. In 1998, her house and studio burned to the ground because of a kiln fire.With the help of donations from a large pottery sale, Karen rebuilt her country house and studio. She received a Graduate Fellowship from Alfred University, and more recently won a gold medal for the consummate craftsmanship from The American Craft Council.Her work is displayed in numerous galleries and permanent collections worldwide.Wikipedia

Anne Truitt - Precursor of Minimalism

Anne Truitt (March 16, 1921 – December 23, 2004), born Anne Dean, was a major American artist of the mid-20th century.. She made what is considered her most important work in the early 1960s anticipating in many respects the work of minimalists like Donald Judd. She was unlike the minimalists in some significant ways
After leaving the field of clinical psychology in the mid-1940s, Truitt began making figurative sculptures, but turned toward reduced geometric forms after visiting the Guggenheim Museum with her friend Mary Pinchot Meyer to see H.H. Arnason's exhibition "American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists" in November 1961. Truitt remembers that she "spent all that day looking at art…I saw Ad Reinhardt's black canvases, the blacks and the blues. Then I went on down the ramp and rounded the corner and..saw the paintings of Barnett Newman. I looked at them, and from that point on I was home free. I had never realized you could do it in art. Have enough space. Enough color." Truitt was especially inspired by the "universe of blue paint" and the subtle modulation and shades of color in Newman's Onement VI.The singularity of the Abstract Expressionists that she observed in work by Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt struck Truitt and sparked a turning point in her work.

 Truitt's first wood sculpture, titled First (1961), consists of three white vertical slates rooted in a block ground, each coming to a point and braced to each other at the rear, resembling a fragment of a picket fence. The forms contain memories of her past and her childhood geography, rather reflection of a "direct result of an empirical perception." First is a permeable memory of the idea of a fence, of all the fences Truitt has seen, instead of a fence modeled off of a specific image. During a period spent in Japan with her husband, who at the time was the Japan bureau chief for Newsweek, she created aluminum sculptures from 1964 to 1967 Before her first retrospective in New York she decided she did not like the works and destroyed them.

 The sculptures that made her significant to the development of Minimalism were aggressively plain and painted structures, often large. Fabricated from wood and painted with monochromatic layers of acrylic, they often resemble sleek, rectangular columns or pillars. Truitt produces in scale drawings of her structures that are then produced by a cabinetmaker. The structures are weighed to the ground and are often hollow, allowing the wood to breathe in changing temperatures. She applies gesso to prime the wood and then up to 40 coats of acrylic paint, alternating brushstrokes between horizontal and vertical directions and sanding between layers. The artist sought to remove any trace of her brush, sanding down each layer of paint between applications and creating perfectly finished planes of colour.The layers of paint build up a surface with tangible depth. Additionally, the palpable surface of paint convey Truitt's ever-present sense of geography in the alternating vertical and horizontal paint strokes that mirror the latitude and longitude of an environment. Her process combined "the immediacy of intuition, the remove of prefabrication, and the intimacy of laborious handwork."  The recessional platform under her sculpture raised them just enough off the ground that they appeared to float on a thin line of shadow. The boundary between sculpture and ground, between gravity and verticality, was made illusory. This formal ambivalence is mirrored by her insistence that color itself, for instance, contained a psychological vibration which when purified, as it is on a work of art, isolates the event it refers to as a thing rather than a feeling. The event becomes a work of art, a visual sensation delivered by color. The Arundel series of paintings, begun in 1973, features barely visible graphite lines and accumulations of white paint on white surfaces. In the custard-color Ice Blink (1989), a tiny sliver of red at the bottom of the painting is enough to set up perspectival depth, as is a single bar of purple at the bottom of the otherwise sky-blue Memory (1981). Begun around 2001, the Piths, canvases with deliberately frayed edges and covered in thick black strokes of paint, indicate Truitt’s interest in forms that blur the lines between two and three dimensions...Wikipedia

Robert Heinecken - Photo collage - "paraphotography"

Robert Heinecken (1931 – May 19, 2006)was an American artist who referred to himself as a "paraphotographer" because he so often made photographic images without a camera.Born in Denver in 1931, Heinecken grew up in Riverside, California, the son of a Lutheran minister. He joined the Navy in 1954 and served as a fighter pilot (though too short, he passed a height test by padding his socks with paper). Heinecken later served as an officer in the Marines, discharged as a captain in 1957.
Heinecken completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in art at UCLA, where he studied printmaking as well as photography.

Heinecken was known for appropriating and re-processing images from magazines, product packaging or television. In "Are You Rea" series from 1964 to 1968, for instance, he created a portfolio of images filled with unexpected and sometimes surreal juxtapositions by placing a single magazine page on a light table, so that the resulting contact print picks up imagery from both sides of the page.
In the late 1960s, he also began cutting up popular magazines such as Time and Vogue and inserting sexual or pornographic images into them. He would place his collage-publications back on newsstands in Los Angeles to be sold to unsuspecting buyers.
In the 1980s, he created several series on American news television that involved photographing images on the television or exposing the light of a television set directly to paper to create what he called "videograms.Wikipedia

Aluminium art Denis Young

 "Denis Young, born in 1971 in Eindhoven, is a certified screen-printer by profession. Becoming fascinated by abstract and figurative art at an early age, has enjoyed painting, drawing and air-brushing ever since.
Denis started in 1997 at the Art Academy of Arendonk (Belgium), where he specialized in painting with oil based paint and the use of thick paintbrushes. These techniques allowed for the development of more expressionistic and abstract works. After attending the Art Academie, Denis developed his own idea to create unique works of art through the combination of experimental screen-printing, painting and edited aluminium.
Especialy in the portaits one can observe the daring and intricate play between the use of contrast and texture (relief) of the aluminium, where the consciously leaving out the eyes, and the creation of wrinkles and skinlines shroud each art piece with a certain mystique.
The use of texture and relief of the aluminium in combination with the creative use of lightning ensure the unique and daring character of each individual art piece, and is a process from which Denis, as an artist, enjoys great (personal) satisfaction." (Denis Young  www.denisyoung.nl )