Jaroslava Severová: Uncertain realities
Jaroslava Severová (born 1942) has been a major figure of Czech contemporary art since the 1960s. The diverse range of her artistic activity, including printmaking, painting, objects and installations, is linked by the attempt to highlight the mutually dependent factors (both visible and invisible) that together create the multilayered fabric of what we call reality. She is engaged in a kind of artistic reconstruction of the universe that surrounds us – its fixed points and binding energies – using the language of primary elements (basic shapes, movement, light and colour) and the closely followed process of fragmentation or deconstruction. Using variations and combinations, she creates open stories, or rather meaning-based situations, that stem from her personal reflections but which become a universal theme and a gateway to understanding the complex phenomena around us.
Having used classical printmaking techniques of etching and aquatint since 1960s, Jaroslava Severová opened in the 1990s an important new chapter in her work, undoubtedly also inspired by her then teaching activity at the Institute of Art based at the Architecture Faculty of the Czech Technical University in Prague. This chapter, one that remains the main field of her artistic exploration, is that of computer printmaking. Although the progression from traditional printmaking techniques to digital media brought her many fresh impulses, she followed on naturally from the issues and themes of all her preceding work.
In reflecting on the printmaking of Jaroslava Severová, mention should also be made of her spatial expression, in which she deals with issues parallel and integral to those in her graphic art. These sculptural pieces clearly manifest Severová’s continual aim: the effort to involve the viewer in actively thinking about the artwork and its possible meanings.
At her exhibition Uncertain Realities, held as part of the Printmaking Crossovers programme, Jaroslava Severová is presenting a brief survey of her printmaking and spatial work. During the exhibition, a new book focusing on her work of the past seven years will be published. The book received financial support from the Faculty of Education of Hradec Králové University, where Severová has been teaching since 2005.