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Escape into his Surreal South Dakota

12/19/2006
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As winner of the Juror's Choice Award at the 2006 Arts Night Exhibition, a Visual Arts Center annual fund raising event, John Rychtarik earned an exclusive exhibit. The exhibit opens Jan. 19, 2007 and runs until April 29. A free public reception on the opening day will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Rychtarik’s upcoming exhibit is somewhat unique in that all but one or two of the featured artworks was completed within the last six years. It marks the reemergence of a productive period following several years of inactivity. It also marks a period of great change in the artist’s life, including a significant career change, relocation and the loss of his father and a son. John works primarily in acrylics, oils and color pencils. The South Dakota landscape and flowers have been the inspiration for much of his work. He does not copy nature, but uses nature to create his own fantasy world. “I believe in many cases that my work in the last few years reflects escapism,” says Rychtarik. “John’s paintings combine a sense of mystery with the color and grandeur of the South Dakota landscape,” says David Merhib the Director of the Visual Arts Center. “John’s work has matured in the short time that I have known him. People that haven’t seen his work in a while will be pleasantly surprised.” Rychtarik grew up in Pierre and has been a fixture in the South Dakota arts community for years. Following graduation he taught art in Mobridge, SD, directed an Art Van which traveled to Indian Reservation day schools in North and South Dakota, and taught at the Flandreau Indian School. While there he was instrumental in developing the Four Winds Cultural Center. He also taught summer art programs with the South Dakota Arts Council and worked the Artist in the Schools program. He was Director of the Hot Springs Area Art Center in 1976 – 77. John married Joan Connolly in 1977 and moved back to Pierre, where he started work at the Robinson State Museum. In 1983 they moved to Sioux Falls, where John worked at the Siouxland Heritage Museums for over 17 years. Currently, John is Curator of Exhibits at the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, SD. ### EDITOR’S NOTE: Images are available online at www.washingtonpavilion.org. Choose “general information” and the “media information” link. User name: media Password: photo