JANINA MONKUTĖ – MARKS
(1923 – 2010)
A Gift for the Homeland
The Rapla County Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the opening of renowned Lithuanian-American artist Janina Monkutė-Marks on our premises on April… 2020. The exhibition became a reality thanks to the Janina Monkutė-Marks Museum in Kėdainiai, Lithuania.
Janina Monkutė-Marks was born in Radviliškis, Lithuania, Sept. 21, 1923; her father worked as a railwayman. Escaping Lithuania in 1944, she studiet at the Innsbruck University, Austria, and at École des Arts et Métiers, Freiburg, Germany, with a number of Lithuanian emigrants as professors – Antanas & Anastazija Tamošaitis, Vytautas Kasiulis, Vytautas Kazimieras Jonynas, Viktoras Petravičius.
In 1950 Janina resettled in the USA. Since 1956, she actively participated in the Chicago art scene, and was connected to the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago) and the B.I.G. Arts Center (Sanibel, Florida). Her works have been exhibited by the Chicago Art Institute, The North Shore Art League (Winnetka, Illinois), Dunes Art Foundation (Michigan City, Indiana), Sun Times Gallery (Chicago, Illinois), Old Water Tower Place (Chicago, Illinois) et al; she had more than 20 individual exhibitions. She also participated in the events of Lihuaninan culture & art organizations, e.g. the Balzekase Museum of Lithuanian Culture, the Čiurlionise Gallery and the Museum of Lithuanian Art in Lemont.
Her early paintings and prints were influenced by the so-called Chicago Imagists (Leon Golub, Seymour Rossofsky et al), who stood in opposition to the 1950s mainstream of Abstract Expressionism, but also later opposed Pop Art, considering the primary task of art to be the expression of the artist’s personal experiences and emotions.
Between 1962-1966, Monkutė-Marks created a series of works utilizing the imagery of Pop Art; she later returned to her Lithuanian roots, finding inspiration in folk art motifs. The artist had a sizable collection of folk art from across the globe.
Since the 1970s, textile was Monkutė-Marks’s preferred medium of expression.
In 2000, the artist donated a major part of her creations to her native Lithuania, founding her museum in Kėdainiai, which opened its doors in 2001.
Janina Monkutė-Marks died in Chicago, Nov 13, 2010.
At the current exhibition in Rapla, we bring you a selection of Janina Monkutė-Marks’i linoleum block prints and tapestries.
The motif of road and journey is one of the most significant in the art of Janina Monkutė-Marks. Journey is interpreted as a quest for the meaning of life and soul-searching in the tapestries “Man and His World,” “Longing for Freedom,” “Going Home,” and “My Road.” Existential meaning is imposed even on the tapestries based upon “real” travel, such as “Going to the Wedding” and “Left Behind.” Janina Monkutė-Marks often portrays the feeling of “being on the road” as a labyrinth; one that has no beginning or end, no strictly positive or negative zones. It is as though the artist suggests that there is no chance to predict an upcoming turn of the road or escape the labyrinth. It is only possible to experience it fully.
Some of the artist’s linoleum block prints imitate the compositional scheme of traditional folk art (“My Road”, “Angel”); elsewhere, she combines the rough shaping of individual forms with geometric ornaments – these are substantial and generalized, represented not only by a contour line but also by entire silhouette. The artist fully employs the deep contrast and intensity characteristic of linoleum block printing. Floral and anthropomorphic allusions, geometric abstractions, traditional ornaments and the artist’s original motifs merge into a mysterious, magical world.
Janina Monkutė-Marks’s works are characterized by clarity of shape and exceptional compositional stability, intensity of colour and variability of texture. The subjective point of view and the courage to open up her inner world are not only recurrent but also some of the most valuable features of Janina Marks’s art, where the ironic and the tragic, the religious and the liberal, primitive and modern are elegantly combined.
An exhibition of living pictures
A collaboration project between two Estonian artists, Kairi Orgusaar and Erki Kannus, “Sedna” is a 6-part series of images inspired by Arctic mythology, specifically the force known as Sedna. The exhibit combines painting with video projection, resulting in ever-changing, living pictures. A female figure slowly moving in a dark, abstract scenery, evocative of a long winter night, aglow with Aurora Borealis – though the artists have never been in the Far North before, they’ve captured the likeness of what they found it in their mind’s eye.
Sedna, of course, has many names and many guises – some call her Arnaqquassaaq, or Sanna, Arnapkapfaaluk, Sassuma Arnaa, Nerrivik, Nuliajuk, Takánakapsâluk…
Likewise, her story is told differently by various narrators, but some aspects remain constant: that of universal femininity – of the power to give birth. Rebellion, passion, anger and vengeance, oneness with nature, the will to live, dark depths of the ocean – Sedna represents all these things and more.
She was a girl who disobeyed her father. She refused all men and married a monster instead. She gave life to ancestors of nations, and to the creatures of the sea. She perished, drowned, her fingers chopped off by her father, yet survives as a force to be reckoned with. Like Life itself, she endures against all odds, and her strength lies in flexibility.
Kunstausstellung „Wir sind da“
Teilnehmende KünstlerInnen: Wolfgang Tietze (Gemälde), Daniela Melzig (Glasdruck) und Kristin Meyer (Installation).
Am 5. April um 18 Uhr wird im Raplamaa Kaasaegse Kunsti Keskus eine Kunstausstellung von Künstlern eröffnet, die Teilweise aus Mecklenburg-Vorpommern stammen. Die Werke behandeln durch verschiedene Weise Themen, die mit Orten und Plätzen verbunden sind. In den Werken geht es darum, wie man in der zeitgenössischen und immer schneller werdenden Welt seinen Platz findet.
Filmiõhtud (tasuta) – Filmabends (Eintritt frei)
10. aprill kell 18.00 Gerhard Richter – Painting
16. aprill kell 18.00 Joseph Beuys – Jeder Mensch ist ein Künstler
26. aprill kell 18.00 Paula Modersohn-Beckeri looming
Eesti Vabariigi 100. aastapäevale pühendatud kunstinäitus
Mathura / Kaari Saarma
„I am the Gardener“
The joint exhibition of artist Mathura and photographer Kaari Saarma intuitively scans one’s chance to be his or her own gardener. A garden is alive when both the wild and the cultivated get their share. The work is carried by the sense of directing your creation, but being unable to predestine its course. The pictures are like stopping points or gateways, the moments of awaiting the new buds.
The exhibition is on at Raplamaa Kaasaegse Kunsti Keskus from November 17 to December 2, Tuesdays to Sundays 3-6 P.M.
Come and join the artists for a tour of the exhibition and hear their story of it in the evening of December 2, at 18:00. All are welcome.
Photos by Kaari Saarma and Heiko Kruusi