Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services
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ANNA MATOUŠKOVÁ: PLACES
ABSTRACT PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS, AND GLASS SCULPTURE
ARE HOMAGE TO COMPOSER LEO KRAFT
-- Czech Artist’s Work Gives Form to Her Reflections on Music;
On Exhibition at Queens College Art Center April 9–July 10 --
|Exhibition Dates: ||Wednesday, April 9–Thursday, July 10, 2008 |
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|Where: ||The Queens College Art Center |
(part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts
6th floor, Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library
Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing
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|Gallery Talk and Reception: ||Wednesday, April 9 |
Gallery Talk and Music, 5–6 pm followed by reception
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|Artist’s Talk and Concert: ||Monday, April 14, 12:15–1:30 pm| |
Aaron Copland School of Music, Choral Room 264
Artist’s Talk Two Places: New York and Prague and
Concert for Leo Kraft
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|Gallery Hours: ||Monday–Thursday, 9 am–8 pm, Friday, 9 am–5 pm |
Closed on holidays. Open April 21–24 and May 27–July 10 from 9 am–5 pm; after May 23, call for summer hours
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|Gallery Contacts: ||For more info: (718) 997-3770 |
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|Fee: ||Free and open to the public |
FLUSHING, NY, April 2 , 2008 – Places, a project in which the young Czech artist Anna Matoušková uses painting, drawing and sculpture to give an objective form to her inner reflections on music by American composer Leo Kraft, will be on display at the Queens College Art Center from Wednesday, April 9 through Thursday, July 10. On Wednesday, April 9, the artist will present a free gallery talk, with music, from 5 to 6 pm. A reception will follow until
8 pm. On Monday, April 14, at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Choral Room 264, Matoušková will discuss her work, its broad context and the possibilities of dialogue between art and music in Two Places: New York and Prague; the free program will include a concert for Leo Kraft. For more information, please visit http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/Art_Library/calendar.html#m
Co-sponsored by the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College (Edward Smaldone, Director); Czech Center New York (Monika Koblerová, Director); Chappell Gallery, New York City (Alice Chappell); and Amálie Maurer, Prague, the exhibition and its related programs are part of Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America, a collaborative project of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College.
|Ochre Paravan right, 2008 |
Acrylic on Canvas, 120 x 40 cm.
Places began to take shape five years ago, after Anna Matoušková, a Czech artist, and Leo Kraft, an American composer, musical theorist, author and educator, now Professor Emeritus at Queens College, met in Prague. The two spent hours talking about art and music. Through a continuing dialogue, they discovered that while their media and backgrounds differ, their artistic concerns and creative processes are aligned. In discussing and sharing their work, Kraft and Matoušková developed an artistic friendship that bridges age, gender, nationality and artistic discipline. Their mutual appreciation has enriched and inspired each of them. Reflecting on Kraft’s compositions, Matoušková created most of the pieces in this show, which she dedicates to his 85th birthday. For context, she included older paintings with musical themes and similar motifs. Earlier versions of this project were presented in two 2007 exhibitions in the Czech Republic: Surface Tonalities (Gallery Havelka, Prague) and Etudes and Compositions (Salon of the Club of Concretists KK2, Olomouc). The exhibition’s title, Places, pays homage to places of personal significance to the two artists, using parallels and links between these locations to emphasize art’s ability to connect.
Paintings from Matoušková’s “Surface Tonalities” cycle relate especially closely to Kraft’s music. While they aren’t abstract in the proper sense—i.e. abstracted from concrete realities—and aren’t objectifications of abstract thoughts, in them the artist expresses her inner experience of music, that most abstract of all arts. Invoking Swiss artist Max Bill’s (1908-1994) belief that “in such cases, one should speak of concrete art, an art that seeks to create ‘a new reality shaped by new objects—items of spiritual need,’” Czech art critic and curator Jaromír Zemina notes an instance of such concretization: “The means by which Anna Matoušková objectifies her inner reflection of Kraft’s music are represented by expanses of color, the equivalent of musical pitch—hence the term Surface Tonalities.”
The artists’ mutual attraction may stem from the characteristics of their work. Kraft’s music has “directness, exquisite craftsmanship, structural clarity, rhythmic interest, harmonic and contrapuntal inventiveness” (Edward Smaldone). Matoušková’s pieces manifest careful, thought-out expression of what is important to her, such as shape, light, formal relationship of color and detail; her glass sculpture has luminosity and volume, even rhythm.
Matoušková approaches a work of art as a spiritual reality. In her painting and glass sculpture, she resolves configurations of simple shapes. Proceeding from an essentially architectonic conceptualization, she explores spatial relationships and the possibilities of ordering, sequencing, multiplying, varying and transforming phenomena that originate in rational consideration and are governed by proportional logic.
The abstract conceptual work on display comprises drawings, paintings in acrylics and combined techniques, and sculpture built of colored glass. Together, they offer insight into the oeuvre of the fascinating young Czech artist (born 1963). A daughter of artists, Matoušková is a member of the so-called Angry Generation of students who emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during their country’s transformation from communist Czechoslovakia to the democratic Czech Republic. Grounded in a fertile historic culture, she has been involved in the process of freeing art from the constraints imposed by the former totalitarian regime, and has embraced the openness of the new order. Her experience includes work in diverse media, exhibitions, projects, symposia, teaching, and public presentations. Interested in contacts between visual arts, other art disciplines, and science, she draws on her country’s art traditions while she introduces the ideas and experimentation of the present. In the process, she develops her nation’s artistic heritage and renews its connections with world culture.
Matoušková lives and works in Prague, where she studied at the Academy of Applied Arts (1984–1990, now the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design) with Stanislav Libenský, Jaroslav Svoboda, and her father Vladimír Kopecký. Since 1998, she has been a member of Klub konkrétistů (Club of Concretists). Her work has been shown in one-person exhibitions in the Czech Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, and in the United States by Chappell Gallery in New York. She has been included in important group shows overseas and regularly in the United States since 2002. She has participated in numerous international symposia, led a glass sculpture workshop for the Fundación Centro Nacional del Vidrio–Real Fábrica de Cristales de La Granja in Segovia, Spain (1998), and lectured in London and elsewhere in the United Kindgom (1999, 2005)
Matoušková’s work has been discussed in exhibition catalogues Sensitive Touch (London, 2001), Global Art Glass Triennial (Borgholm, 2002), art & fenomen: Philosophy in Art (Prague, 2004), binding-building (New York, 2005), New Glass and Studio Glass (Coburg, 2005), in Glassrevue (www.glassrevue.com), Glasswork, and Atelier. Her own essays have been published in Speculum (Prague, 1989) and The Studio Glass Gallery catalog (London, 1999). Matoušková is represented around the world in museums and public, corporate and private collections, including sites in the Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Spain, Japan, the United States, and Japan (with an architectural glass realization in Tokyo, 2000).
A catalogue, Anna Matoušková - Places - Homage to Leo Kraft, April 9th– July 10th 2008, Queens College Art Center, New York (24 p.) and photographs, as well as biographical and sales information, are available upon request.
Visitors to the Anna Matoušková exhibition may also want to see Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum on campus (February 4–June 28, 2008). For information, please visit www.qc.cuny.edu/godwin_ternbach . For directions to Queens College, go to www.qc.cuny.edu/about/directions.php . For a campus map, go to http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Map/new . See RO building (Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library).
The Queens College Art Center, founded in 1987, succeeds the Queens College Art Library Gallery established in 1960. In more than 200 exhibitions to date, the Art Center has shown masters like Alice Neel, Joseph Cornell, and Elizabeth Catlett, and introduced scores of artists from around the globe. Focusing on modern and contemporary programming expressive of the best art of our time, this display space presents the works of emerging and established artists in diverse media. Art Center exhibitions support the educational and cultural objectives of Queens College. The shared goal of the Queens College Art Center and of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College is to provide the means for participating in and upholding a democratic society through learning, adaptation, and critical thinking.