OVAC Fellowship and Art Focus Article

Screen shot 2015-09-15 at 12.28.46 PMI've been behind on providing updates, but a new article about me in the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's publication "Art Focus" has given me the necessary reminder to announce that I was awarded this year's "Artist Fellowship" by OVAC! It's quite an honor to have my work recognized in this way.

The issue features a very nice article written about me and my current two-person exhibition "Hidden Spaces" with the amazingly talented Haley Prestifilippo at the Science Museum of Oklahoma.  I'll be posting more installation shots from the show in the coming weeks, but for now you can read the article here.

Website Update

I've been slowly adding new images to the galleries on the website.  New paintings and sculptures have been placed in the Fortress of Solitude page. A new page has also been added to keep track of all my current and upcoming exhibitions where you can view my work.  Check it out here.

New Works on Paper

I just put the finishing touches on these two drawings.  I've been enjoying the process used in these pieces.  I begin with watercolor and then go back and forth between color pencils building layers of hatched marks to create some optical color mixing.  Thinking this process would translate well to some etchings in the near future.... Both of these pieces will be part of my upcoming show at Mainline Gallery located in the historic Brady Arts District in Tulsa, OK.  There will be an opening reception the evening of September 4th and will be open through the end of the month.  Come check them out if you are in the area.

shouldabeenacowboyShoulda Been a Cowboy Watercolor and Colored Pencil on Paper 30" x 22" 2015
cowboyeyesIt's All In The Eyes Watercolor and Colored Pencil on Paper 30" x 22" 2015
shoulda_closeupShoulda Been a Cowboy (Detail) Watercolor and Colored Pencil on Paper 30" x 22" 2015

Teaching in Tuscany

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This summer I've had the amazing opportunity to teach a course at the University of Oklahoma's Arezzo campus in Tuscany, Italy.  Such a fantastic place and experience!

Student's spent a month visiting historical locations Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena and Arezzo while completing two courses.  My class, "The Sketchbook: Documentation and Exploration," required students to record their observations in a 8.5" x 5.4" Moleskine as they traveled.  I was extremely impressed by the quality of work they achieved and the insights gained from their close and studied observations of their new surroundings.

The course culminated in an exhibition in Arezzo of the student's sketchbooks and a large collaborative drawing project.

For more information on the program, check out OU in Arezzo's website.

The Real Show

FullSizeRenderI'm happy to announce that I have been invited to participate in an upcoming exhibition at the Old Jail Art Center Museum in Albany, Texas. Grin and Bear It and Hi-Yo Silver will both be featured in the exhibition along with sixteen other artists. According to the press release:

The aim of the exhibition is to present how various contemporary artists utilize the illusion of depicted realities to convey individual messages or observations that extend beyond mere mechanical copying.

Above is a picture of the show catalog.   Click the link below for more information about the exhibition:

http://theoldjailartcenter.org/exhibitionlist/2015/6/6/the-real-show

Building in Progress

Here's a few shots of a model I've been working on. First I constructed the structure from cardboard and hot glue.  Stairs and ladders I cut with the CNC laser are used for spacing between platforms.

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I then added some Great Stuff Expanding foam to create the cave-like structures.

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...  some spray paint...

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Here is a test image I took earlier (before the spray paint) with some lighting to get a sense of the forms.  Almost ready to go.

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Winter Break Construction

Over the campus Winter Holiday Break, I have been busy in the studio building some new models for paintings.  These will ultimately become reference photos for paintings and drawings as well as maquettes for 3D sculptural pieces.  A stack of cardboard and a glue gun are the perfect vehicle for quick intuitive decision making.  I've been looking at lots of images of comic books, 8-bit game maps and 80's/90's toy playsets.  Can't wait to get to work on some of these new pieces! IMG_7281         IMG_6983

A Sort of Homecoming - Artist Talk at South Bend Museum of Art

10422952_998863293463459_240608462390747759_n This past weekend I had the opportunity to see my exhibition at the South Bend Museum of Art and take part in several activities including an artist talk.  Having the exhibition so close to home ended up being a unique opportunity to see so many familiar faces.  I felt sincerely honored to have so many friends and family in the audience - including a number of my artistic mentors over the years.

Many of the works in the show reflect my conflicting relationship to my childhood heroes - the larger than life cowboys I spent the last couple years working with- trying to strike a balance between emulation, admiration and finding your own voice.  It seemed fitting that another group of mentors were in attendance, ones whom have all had such a positive impact on my development as an artist.  It can be strange to have three generations of those who instructed me in art over the years all together in one room, but even stranger to have them all listening to me discuss my work! That's the unique situation you can find yourself in when you spend 24 years of education in one place.  Too many people to name here, but a special thanks to Ron Monsma and Doug Kinsey for all their wisdom and continued support.

Overall, it seemed like a wonderful homecoming and was glad to share it with those who came by to hear me and catch up.

Western Wonderland Workshop

10175030_999532616729860_5413595837134876939_n I spent this past Sunday morning working with a group of 50 children aged 4-14 who attended the South Bend Museum of Art's Family Day.  Children who signed up the workshop ahead of time were instructed to bring a toy of their choice.  During our workshop, I encouraged the children to use their imagination and create a setting or a home for their toy.  Using a variety of materials, they constructed dioramas similar to the ones I use for my paintings.

I was blown away by the creativity of these kids - some really awesome projects! I'm so glad I got the opportunity to spend the morning with them and for them to share their imagination with me.

Thanks to Curator of Education Candie Waterloo for all her work organizing this workshop! All photos are thanks to the South Bend Museum of Art!

For those interested, check out their full schedule for future Family Days here

I've posted a few of their projects below.

 

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CNC Progress

I am making progress with the laser cutter.  I am building stairs and platforms that ultimately will become "Fortresses of Solitudes" of sorts.  I've been playing with vaguely sci-fi/comic type designs - recalling the drawings of the incomparable Jack Kirby.  These will be part of an upcoming show at the Science Museum of Oklahoma.  

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CNC Laser Learnin'

The School of Art has been increasing it's collection of digital fabrication tools in the last couple years and I've finally decided to take advantage.  I am planning on using the CNC Laser Cutter for some sculptural works.  There has been a bit of a learning curve involved, but my first challenge to myself was to create a simple box.  Completed!  

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Small Vistas, Big Myths: Install at South Bend Museum of Art

My solo exhibition at the South Bend Museum of Art is now  installed and opens to the public tomorrow. The show runs from September 27, 2014 - January 4, 2015 in the Art League Gallery.More information on the show can be found here:

http://www.southbendart.org/see/jason-cytacki

Below are a couple installation shots sent to me by Curator of Exhibitions Mark Rospenda.  Have a look, and if you are in the area be sure to stop by and see it in person!

photo 1(2) photo 2(1)

New landscape piece - Triptych!

I am happy to finally finish this triptych piece that I have been working on and off again for several months.  In fact, I began this piece back in 2012 for my show at JRB and abandoned it due to a lack of time for some smaller pieces (the painting was 9 feet wide by 4 feet tall). At the time I scrapped the painting and used the setup I created for a small graphite drawing, "Glacier Getway." When the South Bend Museum of Art contacted me about doing a show this fall, primarily focusing on my landscape work, I knew it was time to pull it out and finish it.

I'm glad I did.  Working this large allowed me to approach the constructed landscapes in a different way - more painterly with much more of a direct painting method.

Well, the piece is done and will be shown at my upcoming exhibition, "Small Vistas / Big Myths" opening at the South Bend Museum of Art on September 27th.  See the finished piece below.

Earlybird Earlybird Oil on Panel 48" x 108" 2014

New Beginnings

I have recently begun a new series of paintings...they will be a departure from the Western imagery I have been focused on for the past few years. Secret Lairs....Fortresses of Solitude....more to come.....

 

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"Western Installation" Opening

The opening for "Western Installation" at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center took place this past Friday evening and was very pleased at such a nice turnout.  The staff at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center were nothing but kind, flexible and helpful.  In particular I'd like to thank Stacey Cramer Moore who organized the exhibit and did a great job of hanging it and Toni Hopper for all her help with publicizing the show through local and social media.  Below find a link to an album on the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center's facebook page of photographs from the opening reception.  All photographs taken by Toni Hopper. If you missed the opening, the exhibit is on view until May 21st.

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Opening Reception Photo Album

 

RADAR Poetry

For the lover's of poetry out there I want to make a recommendation to check out a new online Poetry Magazine: RADAR Poetry.  The site pairs poetry and the visual arts.  With each issue, a submitted poem is either chosen by an artist and illustrated or a work of art is chosen that creates a conversation with the writing.  It is my pleasure to have one of my paintings, "Faded," 2009, featured in this excellent collection. The poem "What I Say When I Say My Name is Nobody" by Geffrey Davis is a great piece and enjoy the pairing with my image.  Go take a look at their fantastic collection which also includes artwork by my friend Brooke Vertin whose piece "Talk, Friend," graces the cover seen below.

Read below:

http://www.radarpoetry.com/issue-2-toc

What I Say When I Say My Name is Nobody

Brooke Vertin TalkFriend

Upcoming Exhibition: Shifting Frontiers

I am happy to report that I will have a solo exhibition of my work at the Gaylord Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum this Spring/Summer.  "Shifting Frontiers" opens March 10th and runs until September 6th.  I have roughly 16 paintings in the exhibition spanning the past two and a half years.