Situational Prints, a solo exhibition by London, England-based artist Denise Hawrysio, was presented at Open Studio from June 25 to July 18, 2009. Denise Hawrysio has worked in a variety of media over the course of her career. Hawrysio’s conceptualized prints are rooted in the experiential and combine elements of performance and socially engaged collaboration. As Dean Kenning states in the accompanying essay, Hawrysio’s prints create “a yet more viscerally direct relation to the real” through the evidence of the mark making procedures to which the etching plates are subjected by Hawrysio.
In the piece Bully, for example, Hawrysio took an etching plate to a local high school and “asked a kid to bully it”; the results were then printed, with the final work bearing witness to the process by which it was created. In her work, Hawrysio aims to invigorate traditional printmaking techniques by injecting them with conceptual energy and social consciousness. This is achieved by offering a unique physical and psychological reflection upon the fragmented state of contemporary reality and, at the same time, straddling the spheres of formalist purity and narrative interpretation in analytic but sometimes humorous ways.
Denise Hawrysio was born in Toronto and currently lives in London, UK. She received her BFA from Queen’s University, Canada, and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She works in a variety of media including site-specific installation and print and has exhibited her work throughout Europe, the United States and Canada. She has been an active member of London’s art scene for several years, founding her own project space in the early 1990s, working collectively with many of Britain’s leading artists. She recently received fellowships for print residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the prestigious MacDowell Colony in the United States and the University of British Columbia. A review in The Georgia Straight of her recent Vancouver solo print exhibition stated: “Hawrysio’s prints are remarkable for both their conceptual premise and their social engagement— and for the oddly appealing aesthetic that emerges from the process of their creation. They boost the fading fortunes of traditional etching and lithography into the postmodern present.” She has exhibited at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Uppsala Konstmuseum (Sweden), The Showroom (London), Mercer Union (Toronto), Dare Dare Gallery (Montreal), Overgaden, Institute of Contemporary Art (Copenhagen), and recently at Simon Fraser University Gallery (Vancouver and) Dundee Contemporary Arts (Scotland).
Dean Kenning is a London, England-based artist, occasional curator and regular contributor to Art Monthly. He teaches at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and is Research Fellow in Fine Art at Kingston University London.