By Mike Monopoli
Local artist David Gyscek attended Holy Cross College and earned his Master’s in Fine Arts in 2000 at Goldsmiths College in London. His first solo exhibit appeared in Douglas, MA in 1998. “Rhapsody of a Burnt Dancer” was a collection of works featuring sculpture as well as photographs modified with acrylics and pencil. Intended to challenge perception, many of these works depicted life size human forms in dramatic settings. His style is evident in his exciting new show, a collection of works called “Electric: New Paintings & Illuminated Photographs.” The exhibit continues through August at the new Davis Art Gallery, 44 Portland Street in Worcester.
The works consist of two distinct forms of media. The photographs, produced on large sheets called “digital duratrans,” are essentially giant digitally produced slides lit from behind by electric light boxes. Gyscek’s paintings, done in oil on panels, also appear in the photographs.
In a theatrical and fetishized fashion, the photos depict a nearly nude male subject performing ordinary household tasks. While the artist considers them “homoerotic, sexualized mundane activities,” he prefers his works not be pigeonholed as “gay art” and feels his art can appeal to anyone. “I want people to see beauty in an activity that is normally seen as a chore,” says Gyscek. “I look for subtle ways to undermine what someone would expect from an image, so that the image is familiar, but still makes you wonder a little bit.” Self portraits by proxy, the photos invite you to look inside the lives and home of the artist and his partner, Juan Pablo Lopera, who wrote the artist book that accompanies Gyscek’s works. Large in scale and illuminated from behind, the photos reference subway ads and magazine spreads, taking the private public.
The “Electric” theme prevails in Gyscek’s paintings, depictions of images generated randomly by his iTunes music program. These colorful visualizations are ever changing and play along with songs on programs commonly found on computers. Here the artist captures the images and then interprets them in oil paintings. “The name of the painting is the song that was playing when I took the picture,” he says. “It’s got a musical aspect and a pop culture aspect. This kind of technology-based imagery is something that people can relate to, it’s something you see everywhere.” Based on songs from Tori Amos, Radiohead, Morrissey and David Bowie, these images are captivating and vibrant in color with a feel of motion. “You get a glimpse of my musical tastes as well,” adds the artist.
Gyscek enjoys mentoring young artists at Holy Cross, where he is the Visual Arts Studio Coordinator, and hopes to do more teaching in the future. “The beauty of teaching at the college level is that you’re expected to have a professional career outside of your teaching responsibilities. For me, being in an academic environment helps keep me sharp and involved in the bigger conversation of what’s going on in art, it helps keep me fresh and it keeps me motivated.”
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