Joseph O’Sickey believed “The subject doesn’t matter… what the artist brings to it is the important thing.” While O’Sickey’s still-life and landscape paintings may be conventional in terms of subject matter, he brings to them a joyous celebration of color and life.
In 1968, O’Sickey and his beloved wife Algesa moved to Twin Lakes, OH, just outside of Kent. The home had a lush walled garden which served as inspiration for many of O’Sickey’s works. This lively painting of his studio features a rich interior setting with large windows that look out onto the garden, making it difficult to determine where the indoor studio ends and the exterior garden begins. O’Sickey uses deep purple, bright teal, and fresh green to paint the flowers and plants decorating the tables in his workspace. Just next to them is a delicate blue chair with a mandolin resting against its back. A patterned orange, peach, blue, and purple rug covers the studio floor, adding to the busyness of the scene. O’Sickey employs rapid but assured brushstrokes to render each object, creating a pulsating rhythm that permeates every inch of the canvas.
Do you have a favorite space in your home where you go to work or relax? How is that space decorated? How do you feel when you’re there?
With a career spanning nearly eight decades, O’Sickey left an indelible mark on the arts in Northeast Ohio and was even granted the title “the dean of painting in Northeast Ohio” by Cleveland Plain Dealer arts writer Steven Litt. After displaying an early interest in art as a child, O’Sickey went on to study with renowned Cleveland artists Paul Travis, Carl Gaertner, and Victor Schreckengost at the Cleveland School of Art (now Cleveland Institute of Art). During the 1960s he won multiple “best painting” awards in the May Show, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s annual exhibition of work by Cleveland artists, which ran from 1919–1993. O’Sickey also created a legacy as an influential studio art professor with a 25-year tenure at Kent State University and a brief term at Ohio State University where he met a lifelong friend-Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Although O’Sickey managed to secure representation at prominent galleries in New York City, he decided to stay in the Cleveland area, living and working there his entire life.
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Originally published at https://akronartmuseum.org on September 12, 2020.