Victor Pytko: Double Vision
Twin solo exhibitions of recent works
1260 Library Street
Detroit (south of Grand River Avenue)
313 671 4447
Cafe de Troit
November 6-30, 2003
Who is Victor Pytko? Two simultaneous exhibitions try to answer this question. Lee Padgett’s inviting Café de Troit gives art and coffee lovers alike a chance to view Pytko’s representational works of scenes from around Detroit including Belle Isle and Heidelberg Street among others. Downstairs at Jack Johnson’s musee d’troit, Pytko throws objective representation to the wind and lets loose with experimentation and the fluidity of paint practice.
To some, these seemingly radically different approaches might seem to represent a Jeckyl and Hyde-ean duality. With these distinct bodies of work, Pytko resists our culture’s tendency to pigeonhole people into specific categories. The potential for human experience is too complex to be confined by artificial limits. We have this broad range of expression available to us as Pytko makes clear.
Pytko made a big splash this summer with his work at Gallery 4731 as part of the Grand River Station exhibition. For that show, we only saw his representative paintings which are in the same vein as those on display at Café de Troit. A fine eye for composition and color guide these works. Working primarily en plein aire, Pytko has carefully balanced observation with design to create engaging and attractive pieces. A lively and “impressionistic” palette breathe beauty into even decaying scenery. Even within this realm of representation, Pytko experiments with pieces like “City Scrape” where the city skyline is literally painted and scraped away adding a layer of metaphor and paint surface to the image.
Downstairs, Pytko maintains much of his palette choices and sense of composition, but is all about experimentation. These abstract works fit nicely into the tradition Jack Johnson is building up at the musee d’troit. This is not the typical white-walled gallery, for Johnson has adorned the walls with French newspapers and loose, wild, colorful brush strokes. These things might serve to distract from the artwork, but the opposite happens and instead they complement the work quite well. Alphabets, soft marks, squishy marks, and even the occasional figures, dance through these flowing works. Pytko moves beyond paint blending in found objects and textural materials with non-typical mediums to create more sculptural paintings.
These two bodies of work may seem disparate but they instead both serve to inform the other, as Pytko continues to expand and refine his means of expression. It is a tremendous outpouring of creativity that people looking to buy artwork and painters looking for a kick in the pants alike should both check out. – Nick Sousanis
(For more of Pytko’s work, click on Pytko Online.)