14-04-2020 Visual Arts

Two-Day Symposium accompanying the exhibition: Jan Sawka: The Place of Memory (The Memory of Place)

Curated by Hanna Maria Sawka, MFA and Dr. Frank Boyer
The Morgan Anderson and Howard Greenberg Galleries
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (SDMA) in SUNY New Paltz, NY
Exhibition on view through July 12, 2020


Symposium Day 1: Saturday, March 28, 2020 @ 2:00PM
The Person and the Place
The Dorsky Museum | 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561
Panelists: Hanna Sawka (Jan Sawka’s widow), Dr. Frank Boyer, Peter Solow,
Moderated by Hanna Maria Sawka, MFA

Symposium Day 2: Sunday, March 29, 2020 @ 2:00PM
Invoking the Inner Landscape
The Kosciuszko Foundation | 15 E 65th St, NY, 10065
Panelists: Dr. Tom Wolf, Dr. Peter Schwenger, Beth Wilson, M. Phil, Dr. Frank Boyer.
Moderated by Hanna Maria Sawka, MFA

Polish Cultural Institute New York is proud to announce a two-day symposium in response to the Jan Sawka: The Place of Memory (the Memory of Place) solo exhibition co-hosted by Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (SDMA) at SUNY New Paltz, on March 28, and the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York on March 29. The discussion on the first day will focus on the biographical aspects of Jan Sawka’s life, his exile from Poland under communist rule and his journey to Hudson Valley in New York, with special guests, Hanna Sawka (Jan Sawka’s widow), exhibition co-curator, Dr. Frank Boyer, and art collector Peter Solow, moderated by Hanna Sawka. The second day will be an academic analysis of the art-historical and critical implications of the legacy of Jan Sawka’s art practice with its themes of collective memory, identity and alienation through visual narration of a landscape. Special guests include Dr. Peter Schwenger, cultural critic and Resident Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, Beth Wilson, M.Phil, art critic and Art History Lecturer at SUNY New Paltz, Dr. Tom Wolf, Professor of Art History at Bard College and Dr. Frank Boyer, exhibition co-curator. Both panels will be moderated by Hanna Maria Sawka, MFA, exhibition co-curator.

The Jan Sawka: The Place of Memory (The Memory of Place) exhibition currently on view at the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz is one a series of solo exhibitions featuring Jan Sawka’s legacy along with the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State University San Bernardino. The Place of Memory (The Memory of Place) at the Dorsky Museum features paintings and etchings by Jan Sawka from the Dorsky’s permanent collection and from private collections.

This exhibition is made up of works that illuminate two aspects of Jan Sawka’s practice, his fascination with human consciousness, in this case, with memory, and his interest in place, and the places through which a human life passes. Jan Sawka’s working method and artworks are truly visionary, in the sense that he always worked from mental images. Every work he did is open to his thoughts, his emotions, his mental associations, and, above all to memory. Thus, the show includes works that illuminate his visual explorations of the phenomenon of memory, works whose subject matter is the landscape of the Mid-Hudson Valley, and works that were created in his High Falls studio that are based in the memories of places that he “passed through.” Many of these images express a deep empathy and the sense of loss that only exile can bring, leavened by an expansive sense of the beauty that art and nature make available to human beings.

“Golden West? Jan Sawka’s California Dream”
The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State San Bernardino

Curators: Dr. Frank Boyer and Hanna Maria Sawka

Description: On Display: February 3-May 9, 2020

This is the West coast exhibition themes present how Jan Sawka envisioned the American West, from his visions prior to exile from Poland, to his experience of Los Angeles while exhibiting there during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Of note will be works from the collection of the late Robert Schulberg, a close friend of Sawka’s who was instrumental in helping the Sawka family come to the United States. The themes of the artworks in the Schulberg collection include critiques and explorations of the ambiguity of the “dream” of America and California in particular.

More public programs relating to Jan Sawka:

The Place of Memory (The Memory of Place)

At Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (SDMA) in SUNY New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561

Saturday, May 2, 2 pm
Concert: Ashokan Rising with Matoaka Little Eagle, Gus Mancini, Nfamara Badjie, Peter Head, and E.C. Lorrick. Experience a confluence of Native American, African, Classical, Soul and Jazz improvisation inspired by Jan Sawka’s painting Ashokan 1-4, performed by unique musicians who share a love of this special place in the Hudson Valley.

Saturday, May 9, 2 pm
Concert: Chopin + Sawka. Both Polish-born political refugees whose work incorporated themes of memory and exile, these artists are united by their stories, surprisingly similar though 100 Years apart. Performances by pianist, professor and coordinator of the piano program at SUNY New Paltz, Alex Peh and students in his piano studio class.

Organized in partnership with the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (SDMA) in SUNY New Paltz, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, Inc., and The Kosciuszko Foundation.