A Look at Jakub Julian Ziolkowski’s “Monotypes”

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Concurrent to his solo exhibition of paintings, sculptural relief, and ceramics at the gallery, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski’s series of monotypes on paper are on view online with James Fuentes, spotlight an area of the artist’s practice that is at once foundational and expansive. Ziolkowski first experimented with the monotype as an advanced drawing technique over twenty years ago. It became a method he has honed on a near-daily basis since. As with the various meditative and shamanic practices that round out his creative life, this form of drawing requires a deep focus and a surrender to precision where, in his words, “everything matters.” The pressure of a sharp pencil perfectly imprints a sheet of paper, its underside meeting a glass plate lined with sticky ink, becoming permanent through this point of contact. This is itself a ceremony, like drinking tea, locating enjoyment in each step; forming a direct transmission between pencil and the spirit.

“Drawing is the best friend with which to start a deep dive into the void,” Ziolkowski says. “I use the most simple language and very direct contact with myself through a drawing. It’s a pure simplicity of paper and pencil.”

In the best way, the monotype is an unforgiving method. Any mistake is immediate and irreversible. In this way it is brilliant a teacher of patience, submission, simplicity, and honesty. The resulting works carry with them this sense of absolute presence, and likewise they transmit that clear connection between the artist’s images and the consciousness from which they emerge. About their content, Ziolkowski explains: “There is no concept, there never was any concept and there never will be. I just love doing it. It’s a pleasure to be there, to draw, to exist there in the reality that is sunk into the paper.” We can always step out, reenter the world of sound and of color, and then again return to this quiet moment.

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