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Polish Printmaking at the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is one of my favorite places in the city. Not only is it home to the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world, it’s a place to get information on happenings all around the city, and hosts plenty of cultural programming, such as concerts and art exhibits. The last time I was there, I was drawn to the exhibit in the Michigan Avenue galleries, “The Wrocław School of Printmaking: Faculty of the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Art and Design,” that features a collection of work from artists out of Wrocław, Poland.

Marta Kubrak, Resistance to Snares, 2011. Images courtesy of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.

One of the most beautiful and unique qualities of printmaking is the way the finished works can hold so much texture and depth, and yet remain so two-dimensional. Printmaking encompasses a variety of techniques as well, with each process producing different results. The artists in “The Wrocław School of Printmaking” highlight the diversity of the medium. Marta Kubrak’s vibrant and color saturated silkscreen, Resistance to Snares, provides a marked contrast to the meticulous gradations of tone in Agata Gertchen’s linocut, My Personal Space I, yet both draw the eye.

Agata Gertchen, My Personal Space I, 2006. Images courtesy of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.

These artists demonstrate a wide array of inspirations, so there is something here to please everyone. With so much exceptional work, it’s hard to pick favorites, but there are some pieces that stand out. Kateryna Zubakhina-Polk’s linocuts of birds and lizards are absolutely stunning. Her combination of soft texturing and frenetic, scribbled lines makes the animals appear to burst forth from the paper.

Kateryna Zubakhina-Polk, Ptak I, 2004. Images courtesy of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.

After the Cultural Center, be sure to head across the street to Expo 72 to see a beautiful collection of printmaking by Chicago artists, “Pulled, Pressed & Printed, Chicago.” Celebrate Chicago’s 175th birthday and learn more about the history of Chicago’s flag in a subset of that exhibition, “The Flag and Seal Revisited,” where artists reinterpret the symbols of the city.

“The Wrocław School of Printmaking” will be up at the Cultural Center through March 25, and “Pulled, Pressed & Printed, Chicago” will be at Expo 72 through April 30. Admission to both venues is free.