The Sticks: House Portraits
“Dylan Strzynski Right Now”
The bulk of my artistic out put falls under the category of one type of landscape or another. At different times my work has been expressionistic and cartoon-ish, flattened out and diagrammatic and droll and nearly formal. I’m always thinking about the landscape, more specifically the environment and the things we place within it – even when I depict actual people or animals, they are a reflection of the environments I have been working with. I’ve never concerned myself with the hopeless even quixotic task of trying to capture or reproduce the beauty of the landscape. It is the story that interests me and it can only be understood by examining the individual elements of the environment. The things that people have left on the landscape, be they marks in the earth itself or the buildings and machines, real or imagined, those are what define the life lived in that place and the place itself.
Through out my artistic career I have conducted an ongoing investigation of the places near where I grew up in northern Michigan, specifically the old farms and vacant buildings around Leelanau County. It’s a haunted place that I recognize as a fundamental part of my identity. Most Sunday afternoons of my childhood were spent visiting the lake and exploring dunes. These excursions have continued through out my life and it is a place I constantly return to. As a result of this I see a lot of what I do as my own individual take on provincial landscape painting. I may be an experimenter with post modern forms but I love the things I depict. When I die it is certain that my eternity will be some kind of psychic projection that looks and feels like the Dunes Highway on a warm August evening, just before sunset, waiting for the auroras to perform their ethereal dance.
My recent work has me shifting back into an illustrative style of rendering and. I did this because I want to depict old buildings, mostly modest rural homes, as plainly as possible. In these architectural portraits the rest of the environment has been omitted leaving them to float against backgrounds of flat color or naked wood. Passing one of these buildings among picturesque lakesides or summer dunes one may find them to be quaint, however, once extracted from their environments, the houses become austere and the story changes. The pictures are simple but the stories are important. They are images of the past that reflect the future.
Human progress is over rated.