The exhibition featured darkly dramatic, manipulated images of visiting Polish photographer, Piotr Szyhalski. His heavily retouched photographs were inspired by pre-war Polish culture, an avant-garde movement that incorporated Surrealism and Constructivism. All of the images were constructed or manipulated, using a number of different media. Some incorporated drawing and painting; additional scenes were fabricated to be photographed.
Szyhalski draws from many issues relating to his rich complex cultural background. His images often incorporate political messages and commentary into the seemingly devotional pictures. The oppressive conditions of the totalitarian system let the artist to examine the spiritual, intellectual, and material resources of the closed environment.
Poland is perhaps one of the most Catholic of the Eastern European countries where nationality and religion are inseparably mixed. With his Christian motifs, Szyhalski examines the effect of communist control on the country.
This exhibition marked Piotr Szyhalski’s first visit to a Western country since changes in the political climate have made it possible for travel outside Eastern Europe. The artist participated in a ten month cultural program in which he taught and exhibited in many US cities including Houston, Montreal, Boston and Los Angeles.