< london prints >
by Guy Burn, originally published in London Arts Magazine
Terry Marks' black and white screenprints at the Sue Williams Gallery in the Portobello Road are at the same time absorbing, amusing and original. She is a New Yorker, and has the sophisticated talent for gentle self mockery which is that city's speciality.
The content is mainly autobiographical, but also concerns her family and friends of Ukranian extraction and the impact on them of the gigantic metropolis. She surrounds them with black cliffs instead of the flat limitless prairie, and these cliffs form the backdrop for the series Ukrainian Americans where the figures show up in scratchy white, rather like scraperboard, or are reproductions of family snaps introduced in different scales, presumably according to their importance. The general effect is of rich woodcut compared to the low definition photos, hard against soft.
She appears herself in one of the prints, as a diminutive child shaking hands rather fearfully with a popcorn man dressed up with a huge top hat in Mr. Peanut and the Dancing Girls. In the background is a chorus line of beauties from the twenties, half of them in Ukraninan national dress, one being her grandmother. Immigrant Visa Applicant is a wonderfully funny study of total bafflement, and Ukranian Folk Tale shows the figures of lovers, Chagall style, in levitation, together with animal symbols. In Sisters she flies over the cityscape at night hand in hand with her sister in a brooding dream situation. As an anonymous visitor remarked: "She sees the dark and the light side of life together."
* * *