Mitch Gyson

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Artist Mitch Gyson.
"Halley Comet Rag" by Mitch Gyson

Mitch Gyson was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1959. As a child growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., influences such as Mad Magazine, Duckpin Bowling, and Saturday cartoons set the stage early for an offbeat and curious view of the world. As a student at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, the power and vision of the Old Masters, J.M.W. Turner, and Maxfield Parrish, helped to instill a passion for pushing the boundaries of conception and execution. Along with his travels throughout the U.S., the writings of Edward Abby and E.H. Gombrich have also inspired the artist to approach his subjects and ideas without convention.

The artist has always resisted working from a singular point of view. He chooses instead to allow the emotional and visual characteristics of his subject to inform his methods. He has developed a fascination with materials, mixing unlikely combinations, and unorthodox methods, often into a single work. This has assisted Gyson in forging a distinctive and versatile approach to painting and image making. Gyson’s landscape and figurative paintings have been exhibited throughout the U.S., and his diverse interests have led to a variety of projects from magazine and poster illustration to miniature golf course and theatrical set design and fabrication.

Gyson has received numerous commissions to paint murals for some of the nations busiest airports from corporations such as United Airlines and Marriott Corporation, yet also feels a great challenge and satisfaction in creating works for private collectors. With sensitivity and insight, Gyson’s pet portraits capture the unique sensitivity and character of his subjects. These works, which are in collections throughout the country, have been featured on The Animal Planet cable network, and exhibited at the State House in Boston.

Gyson’s work is in many private and corporate collections including the Estate of Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill and Amgen Corporation.

Mitch Gyson lives in New York City with his wife, a Canine behaviorist/trainer, and their three-legged dog Cassidy.

Innovative Improvisation

Mitch Gyson's contemporary paintings are highlighted by looseness and spontaneity.

When Mitch Gyson was an aspiring artist, illustrators such as Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell influenced him, and he originally wanted to follow in their footsteps. However, after graduating from school and looking for work, he found. "I really didn't have the temperament to be confined to the time limitations or stylistic preferences of an art director, so I just started creating my own universe of imagined and observed things." In his contemporary artwork. Gyson likes to mix it up by finding new ways to innovate on his canvases.

He says."I'll often play with materials or I'll play with content in an effort to see what I can provoke. My paintings are rarely a singular event. Often times my 'starts get archived to be revisited at a later date." As Gyson works in the fast-drying medium of acrylic, looseness and spontaneity are two key elements in his paintings. "I place a high priority on improvisation and keeping an open mind as a piece develops. The interplay of color, pattern and texture play key roles in the overall design. The paint has a powerful vocabulary of its own, my role is to put it in motion, let it dry and then respond," he says. "I do not think about style. I do think about form." Often, his application of paint is a stream of consciousness, but his mind is engaged in what he calls "a good-natured battle with the causes and effects of any given color or technique used."

Some of the pieces are assembled from multiple pans. while others are cropped and added to different sections of his works. Gyson's artwork is often done in series, such as BioBots on Parade that includes his piece We'll Have 'em Singing from the Rafters. He says this particular work is at the heart of the series" and contains a "rhythmic structural design element in which vague organism-like shapes float throughout the composition. I use the levity of the title to offset our impending War of the Worlds anxiety with the advent of such things as security drones and robotic warfare." Others in the series include Proud Sprout, where he used a single-color textured background on which the "figuratively suggestive black-and-white plant-based form can exist in stark contrast." He further notes-This separately created form. which feels equal parts plant and Transformer, is a combination of poured and swirled paint along with leaf-like shapes that have been collaged."

In other paintings, Gyson works directly from life—particularly with pieces that are based on the figure such as Athena on Fire and Jackie Standing Gyson says. "Working from life has been an invaluable exercise in sharpening my eye to the essentials of good design and eye-hand coordination. For me, this is a very intuitive process in which the quick-drying results become a testing ground for each successive piece." With Jackie Standing t, the "long, lithe body lends itself to this wonderful standing pose,"

Gyson explains. He adds that "Finding the right shape and the right angle with a single stroke is a definite way to keep you focused on the essentials." Gyson also paints works based on nature in his The Nature of Things series, which includes paintings that evoke the seaside and vast landscapes. Breezing Up borrows its title from Winslow Homer and recalls -the power he conveyed with his depictions of rocky coastlines," says Gyson. He also used a combination of two sections of acrylic—one that reads like "color-filled clouds of cotton candy" and another that contains "hard edges and broad strokes."

With his landscape pieces, Gyson uses individual segments of paint of a distinct character to add visual interest and height tension, and to suggest distance and specific forms." •

Gyson was the Grand Prize winner of International Artist magazine's Challenge No. 202. Abstract/Experimental Art


Pickens Museum

Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. Seeking to attain his tribe's highest war honor by touching his enemy. This action among indigenous peoples is called "Counting Coup".
Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. “Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp” is a bronze created by Osage Artist John Free. The bronze, eight feet high and twelve feet long) was enlarged to 1-1/4 life size through the efforts of John Free of the Bronze Horse foundry in Pawhuska and Hugh Pickens. Pictured (L-R): Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum and Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear of the Osage Nation.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. “Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman” is a mural painted by fine artist Daniel Pickens. Daniel was born in Lima, Peru in 1974 and is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden. This mural is at our Ponca City location.
“"War Club" by Native Artist Yatika Starr Fields was recently acquired from Garth Greenam Gallery to Pickens Museum. Personal and social struggle have long been integral to the artist’s practice. After joining the Water Protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, Fields increasingly centered the Indigenous history of hope and struggle in his work, particularly in his studio practice. In his 2017 series, Tent Metaphor Standing Rock, Field recovered tents after the infamous February 22, 2017 police raid on the protesters. The artist recombined the vivid tenting material—the mainstay of middle-class camping holidays that has become an icon of homelessness and protest movements—into traditional Indigenous patterns, anti-pipeline slogans, and into dynamic, compelling abstract compositions. As in his graffiti works, Fields blurs the line between abstraction and representation, creating stylistic compositions out of recognizable elements, and setting them against dynamic, swirling fields of color and twisting forms. The works blur the boundaries between political polemic and abstraction, between distress, resistance and hope.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. Our mural "The Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman" is located in City Central at our Ponca City location.
Doctor Pickens Museum of Turquoise Jewelry and Art. Pickens Museum displays art works at NOC Tonkawa campus. Pictured (L-R): Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC President, Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum, and Sheri Snyder, NOC Vice President for Development and Community Relations. (photo by John Pickard/Northern Oklahoma College) This art is at our Tonkawa location
Native American Artist Yatika Starr Fields Completes Mural for Pickens Museum.
The World's Largest Naja. Future location of Pickens Museum on Route 60 and "U" Street West of Ponca City
Architectural Renderings of Pickens Museum.
Aerial View from East of Future location of Pickens Museum along Route 60 at "U" Street West of Ponca City
Display of Turquoise Jewelry.
Drum player by Allan Houser. This stone carving is part of the collection at Pickens Museum.
"Red Man" by Native American Artist Fritz Scholder. Pickens Museum Director Hugh Pickens on right.
Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp.
Native American Jewelry Artist Tonya Rafael with a silver frame she created to honor my wife Sr. S.J. Pickens. My wife and Tonya worked together over the years creating new jewelry art pieces. My wife had an eye for color and would often design a spectacular piece and ask Tonya to execute it for her. A skilled silversmith, Tonya would sometimes stay in our guest house, set up a workshop, and work for days at a time on a Squash Blossom, Bolo, or Bracelet my wife commissioned. The piece is a silver picture frame that Tonya cut out of thick silver plate. Around the edge of the picture frame are 95 small turquoise stones. In the top is a large spiny oyster stone in the shape of a heart. The frame contains a photo that Tonya took of my wife a few years ago. Dr. Pickens is wearing one of her favorite outfits and if you look closely you can see a special squash blossom and necklace that Tonya created for my wife. In the bottom of the frame is an inscription.
Native American Artist Jolene Bird. Jolene Bird is an accomplished artist who learned her craft from her grandfather over 20 years ago. Jolene makes her jewelry in the tradition of the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico. This is a Fender Stratocaster guitar onto which Jolene has attached pieces of Kingman and Sonoran Turquoise highlighted with Jet. The stars are in Abalone, Mother of Pearl, Pipestone, Yellow Serpentine, and Spiny Oyster. The artistry in this piece is simply breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed. Consider that this is a three dimensional mosaic, a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle if you will. Jolene told me that each individual piece of turquoise had to be cut, shaped, and ground down to fit perfectly with the other pieces. Each individual piece probably took six to eight hours to produce and there are literally hundreds of pieces covering the guitar.
American Indian by Paul Manship This piece at Pickens Museum is the only known existing copy of this sculpture.
Painting by Peruvian Artist Josue Sanchez. Photo Credit: Hugh Pickens Pickens Museum

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