|By Carley Dangona
The Westfield State University Downtown Art Gallery will display "Field of Decay" by Tyler Vouros until March 23. Above, Vouros and one of the pieces in the collection, depicting sunflowers in various states of decay.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
WESTFIELD The Westfield State University (WSU) Downtown Art Gallery opened its newest exhibition "Field of Decay" by Tyler Vouros on Jan. 24 and the show will remain on display until March 23.
This show is the first solo exhibit for Vouros, a Massachusetts native and resident, whose workspace is in Paper City Studios in Holyoke. The collection is comprised of drawings and paintings of sunflowers in various stages of decay.
"I think every piece in the show illustrates sunflowers that I grew, picked or bought," Vouros said, adding that he sought out uniqueness in the subjects he chose. "I've never had the opportunity to build up enough pieces for a collection. It's great to have an exhibit that's close and local so my friends and family can attend."
In his artist's statement, Vouros stated, "The floral forms become brilliantly grotesque when facing their mortality, yet they are forgotten and left to rot. There is beauty in the field of decay: existence continues after demise. A vivid luminosity emerges from the void of the shadows in my images, as one last breath before being returned to the earth. The dried sunflowers pay homage to the natural order of the scientific world."
Charcoal is the medium of choice for Vouros, a trained figure artist. He prefers to work on large canvases because the combination enables more room for artistic interpretation.
"I was always drawing when I was a kid," he said. "I remember my parents had rolls of paper for me I colored all the time."
Vouros credits his sixth grade art teacher Ron Berger with assisting him to explore his artistic abilities. "At a young age, I was exposed to a variety of quality art materials," he explained. "In high school I found myself living in the art department."
While attending Greenfield Community College (GCC), Vouros met his mentor Budge Hyde. "He challenged my ideas and thinking for the first time. He has high expectations for his students. He treats them as artists, which brought a level of professionalism to the foundational courses. The experience allowed me to see art as a career possibility it motivated me. I have a huge appreciation for GCC," Vouros stated.
After GCC, Vouros attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts, where he found direction for his career. He then went to the New York Academy of Art (NYAA) for his Master of Fine Arts, through which he completed a two-month residency in Leipzig, Germany.
"The boot-camp style of learning at NYAA during the first year enabled me to develop and increase my artist's toolbox," Vouros explained. "Because of this I was award the residency in Germany. It was the first time I was set in a space and just worked [on his art]."
As part of the study abroad Vouros worked with German artists David Schnell, Christiana Baumgarnter, and Rosa Loy. He is presently part of the international group exhibition "Traces," on view through March at the Neue Leipziger Messe, in Leipzig.
For more information about Vouros, visit http://tylervouros.com.
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