For its newest lecture series, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts has brought together two artists, one local and one from Poland.
Local artist Mary-Ann Prack, from Ashe County, and Polish artist Monika Kostrzewa will feature their work through lectures and exhibitions.
Prack, whose exhibition is titled “Standing Still in the Abstract,” has gained attention for her work due to her proximity to the area. Kostrzewa’s exhibition, “International Focus Series I-V: 21 Sztuka: Contemporary Art of Poland,” however, happened by chance.
Hannah Crowell, the Turchin Center’s exhibition coordinator said staff members from the Turchin Center travel abroad every three or four years looking for new artistic talent at Appalachian State University sister universities and other places around the world. Kostrzewa just happened to be working at Adam Mickiewicz University, one of Appalachian’s sister schools at the time that the Turchin Center staff visited.
Between the two lecturers, their artistic achievements are vast. According to representatives from the Turchin Center, Kostrzewa was nominated for the “Designer and Producer of the Year” award for life-time artistic achievement in designing, and earned honorary mentions from the National Chamber of Fashion for two collections in a 2004 Intima Art competition. And among Prack’s awards, she received a national award for “Best of America-Sculpture” in 2004 from a national art competition.
Kostrezewa and Prack may both be lecturing on their work, but their art is on opposite sides of the artistic spectrum. Kostrezewa with fashion and design and Prack, who is the more traditional artist of the three, creates mainly sculptures and paintings.
“The human figure has always been something that intrigued me, there is just always something to explore,” Prack said. “I was drawn to clay because my father collected art and my mother was an artist. I began painting in 2004 after being diagnosed with cancer, and wanted to keep growing artistically, but couldn’t do clay.”
Currently, Kostrezewa’s works are en route to the Turchin Center. Prack’s sculptures, however, are now being exhibited and have drawn a range of reactions from viewers.
“The whole process of clay is about letting go, and there is something lasting about Mary-Ann’s figures,” said Pegge Laine, the education outreach coordinator for the Turchin Center. “Here, I see the precision, and I love the balancing act.