A Passion for Posters

Sep 102003
Authors: Amy Bergstrom

Chaz Maviyane-Davies has traveled the world with his art and message.

This week, he returns to Fort Collins, where his art will be on display as part of the 13th Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition.

“Posters can do much more than we give them credit for,” Maviyane-Davies said. “They are the one format that allows bold expression yet communicates a message.”

Maviyane-Davies uses posters as a canvas for his messages on development (of what?) and human rights.

“I try to have a positive response to those issues,” he said. “I try to stay away from negative ways of looking at human rights.”

Maviyane-Davies advocates the need to remember past human rights violations, said Linny Frickman, coordinator of the CIIPE and director of the Hatton Gallery. During a lecture at CSU this week, Maviyane-Davies showed posters about the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, Frickman said.

CSU’s Hatton and Curfman galleries host the CIIPE, the only international poster exhibition in the United States. More than 190 posters by 100 artists from 35 countries will be featured in the exhibition.

For Maviyane-Davies, posters are a way to bridge the gap between fine arts and commercialism.

Maviyane-Davies is celebrated internationally for his graphic design work and film-making, having won awards in countries from South Africa to the Slovak Republic. His work has been displayed in exhibitions in Buenos Aires, Germany and in most of the Colorado exhibitions since the first one in 1979.

As this year’s Honor Laureate, Maviyane-Davies’s work will be featured in his own exhibit at the Lincoln Center. He was born in Zimbabwe, studied in Japan and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in England. Currently, he teaches art in Boston.

The international flavor of the CIIPE stems from the European roots of the exhibition, started by a group of CSU art professors and Fort Collins designers.

“There’s a long-standing tradition in Europe of poster exhibitions,” Frickman said. “They decided that a North American audience should be introduced.”

The walls of the Hatton Gallery feature posters from around Europe, grouped by country and area. The Curfman Gallery features posters from Asia and the Americas.

Frickman said that while posters started as a form of advertising, the poster medium gradually became a political and cultural medium. Their ability to be reproduced makes them a quick and cost-effective way to get a message into the public forum, she said.

“In a way, they’re more democratic than a painting,” Frickman said.

The posters in the exhibition range from cultural posters for film festivals, plays and art exhibitions to political posters and a few commercial posters.

The international aspect of the exhibition provides exposure to international art as well as global issues.

“It really allows us to get a sense of what people are caring about all over the world,” Frickman said. “What are the issues in Poland? What are they celebrating in Japan?”

An exhibition of posters, Maviyane-Davies said, allows the audience to see work that would be hard to find otherwise.

“The kind of work you see in the world like this, you don’t find in magazines,” he said. “It gives us exposure as an art form and how it works throughout the world.”

The biennial poster exhibition is an exciting time for the directors of the exhibition, said Bob Coonts, co-director with Phil Risbeck and John Gravdahl.

“It’s always a real time of exploration,” Coonts said. “It’s an exciting time to see what’s going on in posters.”

Frickman said that she encourages students to participate and have a better sense of international understanding.

“These are examples from some of the finest designers from the world as well as examples of what’s current in contemporary design,” she said. “Designers around the world see this as an important exhibition.”

Information for an info box:

All events are free and open to the public

Main exhibition

Hatton Gallery and Curfman Gallery, Friday through October 24

Hatton gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Curfman Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Opening reception and poster sale, Friday, 7 to 9 p.m.

Posters students-$30, non-students-$40

Catalogs $15

Honor Laureate, Director and High School Exhibitions

Lincoln Center, Friday through October 24

Opening reception, Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m.

Aids in Africa: Awareness Posters

Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, showing through October 24

Opening reception, September 26, 7 to 9 p.m.

Contemporary Russian Posters: The Art of Vladimir Chaika

CSU First National Bank Gallery in Morgan Library, showing through December 5

Sam English: Activist Posters in Indian Communities

Fort Collins Museum, showing through October 26

Contemporary Chinese Posters

University of Northern Colorado Oak Room Gallery at Crabbe Hall, Wednesday through October 10

Graphic Responses, Online exhibition


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