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Janina Monkute-Marks graphic art exhibition “A GIFT TO THE HOMELAND” in Druskininkai

2018 September 29 @ 15:00 - 2018 November 21 @ 18:00

In 2018 V. K Jonynas gallery celebrated its 25th birthday and presented Janina Monkute-Marks Graphic Art Exhibition “A Gift to the Homeland”. 


(1923 – 2010)

Janina Monkute-Marks was born in Radviliskis, on September 21st in Lithuania, passed away on November 13rd.

She studied in Pagegiai Primary and Secondary School. In 1939 – 1941 she continued her studies in the High School, in Kedainiai. In 1941 Janina Marks entered the drama studio in Kaunas Drama Theatre. While studying there she finished The Fifth High School in Kaunas.

In the autumn of 1944 Janina moved to Germany.

In 1945-1947 she studied archaeology, art history and Romans languages at Innsbruck University (Austria).

In 1947-1950 attended École des Arts et Métiers in Freiburg (Germany). There she acquired her skills in the visual arts: she studied textile with professor Antanas & Mrs. Anastazija Tamosaitis, drawing – with Vytautas Kasiulis and Vytautas Kazimieras Jonynas, graphics – with Viktoras Petravicius.

In 1950 Janina Marks emigrated to USA. Since 1956 she actively joined the artistic life of Chicago, studied and worked with the artists, such as Don Baum, Claude Bentley, Harry Bouros, Harold Haydon, Viktoras Petravicius. She was closely associated with Hyde Park Art Center and B.I.G. Arts Center in Sanibel (Florida). Since 1972 Janina Marks started organizing the popular annual members’ exhibition in Hyde Park Art Center. In 1974 the artist was one of the founders and leaders of the Lithuanian Woman Artists Association in Chicago.

Her works were exhibited in the Chicago Art Institute, The North Shore Art League (Winnetka, Illinois), Dunes Art Foundation (Michigan City, Indiana), Sun Times Gallery (Chicago, Illinois), Old Water Tower Place (Chicago, Illinois) etc. she had more than twenty one-person shows. Janina Marks constantly took part in the exhibitions of the Lithuanian Art Centers, such as Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, Ciurlionis Gallery, and Lithuanian Art Museum in Lemont. As Danas Lapkus admitted, “<…> in addition to her exhibitions in the museums and art galleries, Janina Marks also took part in various art fairs. Besides, she organized her own exhibitions in different schools and libraries. Such democratic approach reflects both artistic and life philosophy of Janina Marks – to share the beauty of art with everybody”.


“Linoleum block print is my favorite printmaking technique.  I approach it as spontaneous knife drawing.”

“Some of the artist’s prints imitate the compositional scheme of traditional folk art (“My Road”, “Angel”), but much more significant is the influence on Janina Marks of one of her teachers, Viktoras Petravicius. Like Petravicius’ prints, which are considered classics of Lithuanian art, her linoleum block prints combine the rough shaping of individual forms geometric ornaments – are substantial and generalized, represented not only by a contour line but also by entire silhouette. The artist fully employs the deep contrast and intensity characteristic of linoleum block printing. Black and white spaces seem intertwined and equally important in Janina Marks’ prints on rice paper. This black-and-white rhythm takes over the story and creates the effect of an ornament in such prints as In “The Backwoods” and “Birds of Paradise”.

Some of Janina Marks’ most beautiful prints include symbols, which laconically suggest pre-Christian wisdom. These symbols unite floral anthropomorphic allusions, geometric abstractions, traditional ornaments and the artist’s original motifs into a mysterious magical world. Equally impressive are the large artist’s proofs, such as “Man and Woman” and “Jamaica Revisited”, produced from several blocks of linoleum. The large size reveals the outstanding compositional skills and sensitive printing technique (she often uses a simple table-spoon) of the artist. The artist’s proofs are hand-painted in watercolor. The combination of solid black lines and silhouettes together with bright, warm colors results in a stained glass like effect.”                                  

     By Danas Lapkus