The exhibition of Slavica Janešlieva presents one of her most recent series of prints. Actually, it could be said that since 2010 her printmaking expression has significantly changed. It seems that some kind of purification, a kind of reduction and associative concentration takes place in the process of her creative contemplation. These, in the manner of Miro, simplified but at the same time in their expression very powerful prints are created in various techniques – linocut, aquatint etc., seem to synthetise all of her past artistic experience. Now Janešlieva solves the problems in a reduced and most elementary way – a colour, a form, a movement of the hand! These are almost drawing outbursts carried out in different printmaking techniques, visual impressions of a sea scenery, a bird, a tree, an angel, a window… unintentionally collected. To be more precise, now Janešlieva in a masterly way solves the most difficult problem – to express a great deal by a few means, i.e. in a lapidary expression with basic means to manage in creating, suggesting and transmitting what is essential!
Janešlieva is relatively a young artist and certainly there is plenty of time for her to progress further in her creative work. But at this moment it should be emphasized that her creative work so far has certainly extended the scope of Macedonian printmaking, and at the same time it speaks with an impressive and above all a specific visual attractiveness and technical perfection rare in contemporary Macedonian printmaking.
Inscriptions from the underground (2008-2012), “Nova Linija”, Skopje, 2013, p. 123-124
Slavica Janešlieva is a graphic artist who constantly and continuously focuses her artistic work upon experimenting with different printmaking techniques. A permanent challenge in her works is the effort of exceeding the limits of existing graphic disciplines. In her early exhibits (Sheepfold, 1997; Letters, 1998) she surpasses the traditional two-dimensional spatial limits of the prints in order to apply these experiences later in her “combined” objects and installations. Nevertheless, her primary orientation to the printmaking techniques is most evident in her exhibition Narratives and Symbols from 2004.
Janešlieva’s exhibition of prints entitled Impressions (December, 2012) which consists of five cycles and presents her artistic activity of the last five years is yet another proof of her devoted determination to experiment, to search after and attempt to detect the limitless possibilities of a specific printmaking technique, thus trying at bringing it closer to its upmost possible limits which show her exceptional preoccupation with this problem.
The five cycles of prints presented here by the general title Impressions differ, first of all, in the application of various techniques, but also in the visual approach towards the sign as a representation. They confirm Janešlieva’s specific creative sensibility which, in this case, focuses upon the gesture, i.e. upon the symbolic treatment of the component elements, while the accent is placed on the composition and the visual aesthetics, as well as, on the sense of transposing the lyric atmosphere, in which as principal “narrators” fragments from the observed, experienced (personal) reality, transmitted through associative abstract forms are being present. The prints of Slavica Janešlieva show a tendency of reaching perfection by achieving the maximum out of the technique, while the narration, which is one of the characteristic elements of her recognizable creative language is only seemingly absent, and appears just as a kind of a suggestion, a whisper or a distant echo in her own choice of the titles of the prints in which a poetics of feelings of the momentary transient “impressions” is being suggested.
In the first cycle of prints entitled “Haiku” (2010-2012), which according to the treatment could be defined as a sign sketch drawing, Janešlieva creates her movement of the brush to perfection, while in the process of printmaking she experiments with the technique aquatint in the attempt to find the best ways of producing a print which will still keep the whiteness of the background, and will also emphasize the movements. The number of component elements is minimal and reduced just to two colours, so that the perfection of the expression and the purity of the drawing could be achieved. The same tendency is evident in the prints from the second cycle “Haiku 2” (produced in the period between 2009 and 2012) in the technique linocut. They are exceptionally rich in colour and a number of elements comprises their composition.
The other two cycles “Poppies” (2011-2012) and “Impressions” (2012) deal with nature, or to be more precise, the flora. They represent a confrontation with impressions through forms with lineary treated details. The dry point technique used in these prints, enables the artist to create poetical segments i.e. representations of reality expressed by subtle quivering movements meticulously produced and with emotional rhythmically charged moment. Finally, in thefifth cycle entitled “Galicnik” (from 2011, created in linocut and intaglio) the representations of a number of sets of painted surfaces, which as compositions are presented as solid compact units in a specific darkened colour, through the symbolic colour of the soil as such and both as a material, express the existence of soil as an everpresent sensation.
In Slavica Janešlieva’s complete artistic opus, the emphatic intimate lyric discourse is placed vis-à-vis the engaged character of some of her works. Her prints are oriented towards the subjective interpretation of reality and are marked by the intimate/personal character of the experienced reality. Within the metaphysical spaces of her most recent art works, the condensed simplicity in the minimally transposed sensations and the subtle details are used so that the essential content of reality/things and beings/ should be expressed. Inconsistency and transciency of life as a permanent feature in the works of Slavica Janešlieva, with a specific melancholic overtone and acceptance of the changes and movements of the cycles, reflect the restless exploring intellect of the artist herself who constantly confirms her position as one of the most individual artists, not only in the field of printmaking, but also in the field of contemporary Macedonian fine art, in general.
Maja Čankulovska – Mihajlovska (text in catalogue)