Professor from Polish Partner Institution is McColl Visiting Artist

Zuzanna Dyrda with handprint across face
Monday, February 6, 2023
Zuzanna Dyra is a professor at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design.

The Department of Art & Art History welcomes Dr. Zuzanna Dyrda as the first exchange scholar/artist from the department’s institutional partner, the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, Poland. Dyrda also serves as the 2023 McColl Center Visiting Artist in Residence, an annual shared residency program with the McColl Center. 

Dyrda is known for combining printmaking with performance art. Her approach to printmaking has never been limited to just traditional blocks and paper; she includes bodies and skin. Dyrda’s work has consisted from marks made with fingers to whole bodies moving on linoleum plates, allowing bodies used to take on the role of traditional tools of printmaking, such as the printing press, to push the boundaries of this well established practice. 

Dyrda received an MFA degree in graphics in 2013 and a doctoral degree in printmaking from the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in 2017. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, including in Norway, China, United States, Spain, Canada, and New Zealand. In 2018, her project Brudas ("Slob"), pictured below, was the winner of the Professor Witold Skulicz Award at the International Print Triennial in Cracow, Poland.

detail from the Brudas project by Zuzanna Dyrda

This semester, Dyrda is teaching two classes at UNC Charlotte: Topics in Print Media and Thesis 1 and 2 with graduating seniors, which will lead to a BFA exhibition. She will present an artist lecture on February 10 at 11:15 am in Rowe 130. 

"I wanted to come to Charlotte to gain experience in teaching at an American university," said Dyrda. "When I learned about this opportunity, the collaboration between our two schools, I got very excited. Living and working in another country allows me to enrich technical skills, polish my foreign language skills and most importantly learn about different living, thinking and teaching styles. The students at UNC Charlotte are great – creative, open minded, and enthusiastic about learning new things." 

Each year the UNC Charlotte Department of Art & Art History partners with the McColl Center to provide a special educational experience for students through hosting a shared Artist-in-Residence. In previous years the department has hosted McColl visiting artists in fields such as graphic design, installation and performance arts, and printmaking.

"I spent last month on the conceptual research for the project I would like to do here at McColl Center," Dyrda said. "As for today I’m rotating around subjects such as trash, environmental awareness, waste-people-future etc., as these aspects became visible to me when I arrived in the US as a great challenge for the society here. My work will probably incorporate movement/performance as well as engagement of the local community in the process. But the details are still in the process of production together with the wonderful McColl team."

Zuzanna Dyrda in print media class with student
Dyrda, left, with student in Print Media class at UNC Charlotte.

The Department of Art & Art History’s relationship with the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design was founded by professors Maja Godlewska and Marek Ranis, who are alumni of the academy. The Wrocław natives have built a strong relationship between UNC Charlotte and their alma mater, bringing two exhibitions from the academy to UNC Charlotte galleries and leading a group of Charlotte art students to Wrocław for a study tour. In 2009, the two institutions developed a formal student exchange program; thus far, three students from Charlotte have studied in Poland and two from Poland have come to Charlotte. This semester, print media student Caroline Wingerd becomes the fourth UNC Charlotte student to attend the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design. 

The academy is also hosting Associate Professor of Print Media Erik Waterkotte this spring semester as a visiting professor. While in Poland, Waterkotte will teach a printmaking class focused on intaglio, relief, and mixed graphic techniques for graduate students and a special topics course that he will devise as visiting faculty. “I am thrilled for this opportunity to teach and research in Wrocław,” Waterkotte said. “Poland has a rich history in fine art, especially in the graphic arts/printmaking. I am excited to visit the unique architectural and natural spaces of Poland. I am looking forward to seeing works by renowned Polish artists like Zdzisław Beksiński and Magdalena Abakanowicz, and I am excited to discover and meet new artists at the Academia and in the region.”

Pictured at top, Zuzanna Dyrda in her 2019 project, Naznaczenie ("Kindred").