The International Painting Symposium

This year, the annual painting symposium tradition in Daugavpils celebrated the 120th anniversary of Mark Rothko’s birth.

Once again, the Mark Rothko International Painting Symposium brought together the artist’s followers and admirers – painters who continue to embody his ideas in their own artistic practice, filtering them through their individual stylistic prism. The artists spent two weeks away from their regular setting, mingling and interacting, finding inspiration and creating new artworks for the symposium exhibition and the Rothko Museum collection.

The symposium always brings together a mixed group of participants from all over the world. This year, the jury selected nine artists: Sue Beyer (Australia), Kevork George Kassabian (Armenia), Ruth Philo (UK), Zbigniew Olszyna (Poland), Ann Tarantino (US/Italy), Ritums Ivanovs (Latvia), Krista Autio (Belgium), Agata Borowa (Poland) and Inguna Liepa (Latvia).

Sue Beyer (Australia) continued to perfect the ‘pixelated’ visual language she uses to code and abstract existing observable spaces. Kevork George Kassabian turned to acrylic and polyurethane foam to create a series of ‘falling tiles’ representing instability in today’s ‘world order’. Ruth Philo (UK) conducted an urban field study to create an original series capturing the spirit of different locations that give the Daugavpils Fortress its distinctive vibe and palette. Zbigniew Olszyna (Poland) showed his vivid and playful colour sense in “Kaleidoscope” and “Recipe for Success”. Ann Tarantino (US) added a fresh touch to the Rothko Museum collection with her mixed technique that bridges painting and printmaking and rests on applying paint to a laser-etched panel to achieve intricate lines and planes, visualising diversity and parallelism. Latvian artist Ritums Ivanovs was inspired by Rothko’s hometown to continue his ongoing exploration of portraiture and fragmentation, which resulted in a new series of Rothko-themed paintings. Krista Autio, a Finnish artist based in Belgium, drew from the urban environment, the human spirit and poetry to produce an original painterly homage to the Latvian poet and translator Juris Kronbergs and his oeuvre. Agata Borowa (Poland) developed her ongoing series “Is It Painted”, raising questions about materiality and its imitation in a different medium. Last but not least, Ingūna Liepa (Latvia) represented Daugavpils with expressive and vibrant canvasses demonstrating a measured approach to colour and left deliberately untitled.

Exhibition period: 29 September 2023 – 19 November 2023