Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Master of his Universe: The Prints of Guntars Sietins

It would be hard for anyone not already indoctrinated to the mysteries of printmaking to imagine why or how one makes work like that of Latvia's Guntars Sietins. Yet, his work doesn’t require we know the inside scoop how he conjures up these luscious  prints with their velvety black shadows and precise, meticulous detail. We simply shouldn’t care for they are spectacular prints and no matter how he makes them, we are picking our jaws up off the floor in awe. They are incredible images that have found a bridge between the rational and the insanely obsessed. 

The netherworld of Sietins prints is one where we identify ourselves with the shiny metal ball. The universe it courses through is filled with a sort of timelessness, and an endless spectrum of letters, words and digits. We become the ball as it rolls around this pinball machine world, like a pendulum between reason and the precipice of our demise.

The cavernous places Sietins lets us roll around in are filled with letters and numbers and niches for all minutia of time. Some places look  like ouija boards, and some torture us with color wheels labeled only in black and white. There is no need for him to bring these images to color or the optical illusions as created with Victor Vasarely's eye-popping prints. These pieces function in the purest of range of black and white and they require nothing else. The ball represents us as a sort of universal core – a sun perhaps – where it flows through space and time. We can easily traverse the spaces Sietins creates, but the logic of our placement on his compositions is measured and we feel uncomfortable moving outside the place he’s made for us.

 Sietins' subjects tend to defy gravity and he creates this deeply meditative atmosphere where we want to stay and take our time examining every inch of that seductive blackness. His mastery of the process is exceptional and he capably uses imagery seen in the east which revolves around math and order. We are intrigued and enjoy our 'roll around' in the depth of his surreal landscapes which seem to swing between the earth and the heavens.
Born in 1962, in Latvia, Sietins comes from the city of Kuldiga. He later moved to Riga where he studied art at the Applied Arts College and the Academy of Arts. Currently he is professor of Graphic Art at the prestigious Latvian Academy of Art, in Riga. Sietins has widely exhibited his prints throughout Europe, Japan and the United States and his works are included numerous museum collections throughout Europe.

Recent awards:
International Print Biennale in Maastricht, the Netherlands

Felicien Rops International Print Triennial
International Print Triennial, Poland

15th Space International Print Biennial, Seoul, Korea
1st Printmaking Triennial, Thesaloniki, Greece
Aomori Print Triennial, Aomori, Japan

right: picture of Guntars Sietins

Art Academy of Latvia

13 Kalpaka boulevard, Riga, LV-1867, Latvia
Phone: +371 67332202; + 371 67336200
Fax: +371 6722863

Phone: + 371 26440595

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