Art: Prints by Jiri Anderle at the Cincinnati Art Museum

The sheer beauty of the work is reason enough to pay a visit to "Illusion and Reality: Prints by Jiri Anderle," but the perceptive viewer will find much to think about beyond the skill of this Czechoslovakian artist. Turning adversity into a virtue is so

The sheer beauty of the work is reason enough to pay a visit to Illusion and Reality: Prints by Jiri Anderle, but the perceptive viewer will find much to think about beyond the skill of this Czechoslovakian artist.

Turning adversity into a virtue is something artists are good at. The adversity of being an artist in a Communist society that forbade direct social criticism steered Anderle into a body of work well suited for comment on the human condition. So prints became Anderle’s dominant form of expression through much of his career.

In Anderle’s hands, the delicate art of dry point, in which a pointed tool cuts into the plate to provide a cavity to catch the ink, produces wonders. He often combines dry point with mezzotint, which roughs up the surface to darken the background. In the 1980s he started using a crayon resist, drawing directly on the plate with a lithographic crayon.

Now, without the strictures of Communist rule, Anderle is concentrating on painting. Seeing this show, one can’t help but think the print world would be poorer if Anderle had not poured his creative energy into it for so many years.

Illusion and Reality: Prints by Jiri Anderle is on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum through Jan. 3, 2009. Read Jane Durrell's review here.


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