Sidetracks Art Gallery shines its summer spotlight this year on two exceptional artists who have been part of the gallery family these past eight years: Tai Lin of Linden, New Jersey, with his magical work in pastel and oil; and Gary Bykowsky of Roebling, New Jersey, with his sculptural works in many mediums from wood to metals to terra cotta.
Over the years Tai Lin has become justly well-known for his mastery of figurative pastels on paper, primarily white on black. His quick-study works have become legendary in New York, New Jersey and here in Pennsylvania at his home gallery. His art has long been a draw at Sidetracks’ annual Naked in New Hope shows.
The current exhibition explores Tai’s new artistic directions over the past year. In a series of 16 pastels (at present) entitled City of Light, he is exploring remembered images from central Europe, Taiwan and the Newark-New York corridor, each in a flash or slash of light against darkness. Figures are seen alone but not necessarily lonely. The scenes seem humdrum and ordinary until touched by the extraordinary light of white pastel.
Showing with City of Light are several works in another series, Past/Future, each showing a recognizable artwork from the received canon coupled with a stark intrusion from the now (which is future to the past). Startling, humorous and challenging, these works from the past six months show an artist maturing and embracing new possibilities.
The last three copies of Tai’s almost sold-out first book, Moon Walker, are for sale, surrounded by many of the original images from that book. Rounding out something of a retrospective are works in color, both oil and pastel.
Gary Bykowsky over these same eight years at home with Sidetracks has shown his talent for sculpture and painting in almost innumerable ways – small works to large, in ever-changing mediums. His studio when recently visited exhibited the layer of dust requisite for a working sculptor. But the oldest seeming works, all angles and bumps and strange couplings turned out to be the most recent – a marriage of contemporary sensibility with ancient longings and expressions distilled from a primitive language. Secret boxes with hidden meanings seemingly from Egypt or the heart of Africa or Polynesia came to light with the dust removed, all treasures to be unearthed and shown at Sidetracks. There they will be joined by some favorite artworks from Gary that have been on view for the past several months.