Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Saturday night opening at the Hygienic in New London

Hygienic Art
83 Bank St., P.O. Box 417, New London, (860) 443-8001
Prag Gral: Katia Jirankova Levanti & Jirí Salamoun
In the Underground Gallery: From the Collection of Dr. Clement E. Marks Jr.
Aug. 7—Sept. 4, 2010
Opening reception: Sat., Aug. 7, 7—10 p.m.

Press release

In October of 2008 the Hygienic Art Galleries featured the works of Boris Jirku and Katia Jirankova. Mr. Jirku was flown to Connecticut from Prague and resided here during his exhibition where he painted numerous works en plein air and with Katia, held public demonstrations for local artists and students on his painting techniques. It was a fascinating experience to learn about Czech artists and the artistic culture that exists in the capital city of Prague.

In the Prag Gral exhibition the artists and board of directors of Hygienic Art are honored to present the works from Jiri Salamoun who we consider to be a national treasure of the Czech Republic and through the artistic collaboration with artist Katia Jirankova Levanti, we expect Czech country to be well represented to the visual artists' community in America.

Katia Jirankova Levanti, a Czech artist now residing between Waterford and Praque, was born to a Russian mother and Czech father. Her childhood was marked by flights to Moscow to visit her maternal grandmother, a famous actress from Stanislavsky's legendary theater. Though they were cautious not to flaunt their Russian in public, her and her mother, Lena, always felt most at home in their mother tongue. But in Prague the atmosphere was icy. Vaclav Havel was still musing a long way from his presidency of the 90's, and Katia's father's artistic genius was gaining him no friends in the communist ranks. He was a political, satirical cartoonist who was more than once prohibited from working and forced to live off the small income of Lena's translations alone. Some of the most progressive minds in the country would congregate in Katia's childhood home, well aware of the bugs planted in the walls by the secret police, and aware of a privacy relegated solely to thoughts expressed below a whisper amongst themselves, or through the most cunning means (Such as through children's cartoons, which her Father also became famous for). These comrades would later become Havel's minister of foreign affairs, another the prime minister, and her father was honored by the president himself as a foremost prominent figure of Czech culture. These environs molded Katia's artistic ambitions and memories. She studied Philosophy and linguistics at Prague's Charles University and Universita per Stranieri, Perugia, Italy and later with the great Boris Jirku, then Professor at the Praque's prestigious Art Conservatory.

Jirí Salamoun, born April 17, 1935 in Prague, was drawing constantly from childhood. In 1952 he began his studies in the Academy of Arts in the graphics department. In the years 1956—59 he continued in Hochschule fur Graphik und Buchkunst in Liepzich, Germany, and he finished his studies back in the Prague Academy in 1962.

In 1990 he came back to school in Prague as a teacher in the University of Art and Design and in 1992 he was nominated professor. At this time he had behind him already an extensive body of illustrations, graphic designed books, a litany of films ranging from animated cartoons of his own creation to cartoons accompanying feature films from around the world which has been a long standing tradition in Czech culture, and a voluminous number of posters for movies and theatre.

Not only was Salamoun recognized for his quantity of work, but also for the certain magic of his influence on the students of The Atelier of Illustration through his own high level of education, especially in literature, and his great standards imposed upon his students. The profession of the illustrator and graphic designer is an activity coming from the synthesis of a deeply intuitive understanding with a certain level of rationality.

Most recently among his many awards, Jiri Salamoun was honored with the "Golden Ribbon" from the minister of culture of the Czech Republic.

In the Underground Gallery:

An eclectic selection of artwork featuring many familiar regional artists from the collection of Dr. Clement E. Marks, Jr. Over the past ten years Dr. Marks was a major supporter to emerging artists from The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, the Golden Street Gallery and the Hygienic Art Galleries, both of New London, and beyond. His knowledge, passion, enthusiasm, and overwhelming generosity for art and the art making process was inspiring. Over 100 pieces will be on exhibit and for sale. Dr. Clement E. Marks died at his home in Chester, Conn., on Monday, March 16, 2009, at age 72 of pancreatic cancer. One of his wishes was to share this portion of his collection with the public. A portion of the proceeds from this exhibit will benefit the Hygienic Art High School Scholarship fund, established in 2008 with The Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut.

In addition to being an avid art collector and novice architect, Dr. Marks was a clinical professor of medicine at the New York University Medical School and attending physician at New York University Langone Medical Center. He was revered by generations of medical students and medical house staff as an iconic teacher of clinical medicine. He also served on the admissions committee of the School of Medicine for many years.

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