Jeff Cylkowski is a Brooklyn based abstract painter interested in the psychology of perception and the visual experience of sensation. Of Korean descent, born in Chicago, and adopted at birth to a Polish-American family from Minnesota, Jeff’s intrigue with perception and culture began at a very early age as he attempted to make sense of the non-conventional appearance of his family. Growing up, Jeff was heavily involved with the subcultures of skateboarding, punk rock, and hip-hop. After completing high school in Indianapolis, IN, he moved to San Francisco and was an active graffiti writer in the flourishing graffiti/street art movement of the mid/late 90’s.
Since 2009 he has been working with the artist, Jeff Koons, overseeing the painting and graphics production of the Popeye and Hulk Elvis series sculptures. Jeff continues to make work that examines the history of abstraction, and the possibilities of paint. Using dense layering, mark making, process, and graphic pattern, the work is an accumulation of visual incidents. Through the vibrational language of movement, light, and space, the pictures seek to further explore the connection between perception and visceral experience within the viewer.
Courtesy of JeffCylkowski.com
August 16, 2016 (New York, New York) – Storefront Ten Eyck is pleased to present The Manipulation of Authenticity, an exhibition of new paintings by Jeff Cylkowski. Organized by Amani Olu – his first curatorial project in four years – the exhibition will open during Bushwick Open Studios on Saturday, October 1 from 12PM – 6PM. The Manipulation of Authenticity will be on view through October 23 on weekends (1PM – 6PM) and by appointment. Storefront Ten Eyck is located at 324 Ten Eyck Street.
In his practice, Cylkowski creates works that convey the intensity of the urban environment and feelings of fluidity and movement. His paintings bear traces of the years the artist spent in the b-boy and graffiti subcultures of Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Through a process of layering elements—known as “piecing” among graffiti artists—he fills surfaces with layers of biomorphic circles, dazzling stripes of pearlescent automotive paint, and abstract expressionist-influenced paint whorls. The combined effect is surfaces that appear to recede and advance, that change color, or that otherwise toy with the certainty of our perceptions.
In this latest series of works, the artist induces moments when our instantaneous, unconscious perceptions differ from our reflective, conscious perceptions. These paintings serve as object lessons that there’s always more to reality than what’s immediately apparent on the surface—a theme which holds deep personal significance to the artist. Although his ancestral heritage is Korean, he was adopted at birth by a Polish-American family who raised him first in Chicago, then in Indianapolis. Growing up as the only Asian American person in his community, he was often perceived through the lens of a cultural background he had never experienced, until people actually got to know him. By recreating this experience, his body of work serves as a placeholder for his own living body.
The show’s title, The Manipulation of Authenticity, describes how, in the artist’s process, spontaneous and expressive marks created through improvised pours of paint are partially covered by slick, glittery automotive paint. The artist conceives of the graphic elements of his work as analogous to various aspects of the ego, among them self-consciousness, self-doubt, superficiality and “coolness.” These fragments, while connected, exist in tension with one another as they are alternatingly revealed and concealed. This uneasy negotiation causes the new and unexpected to arise within the pictorial surface and in the formation of identity.
About the Artist
Jeff Cylkowski (b. 1976, Chicago, Illinois) is a Brooklyn-based abstract painter. Of Korean descent, he was adopted at birth by a Polish-American family from Minnesota. An early awareness of how his family’s unconventional appearance was viewed by others led to an intense passion for the psychology of perception. After completing high school in Indianapolis, IN, he moved to San Francisco, where he became active in the street art scene. He later moved to Philadelphia and led several community arts initiatives. In 2006, he was awarded a BFA from Pratt Institute. For six years, he managed the sculpture painting department at the studio of Jeff Koons. He has been featured in exhibitions in the United States and in Korea. He served as the artist in residence at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, PA and was awarded the Artist & Communities grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.
About Amani Olu
Dubbed the “King of multi-tasking” by Anthony Haden-Guest in The Art Newspaper, Amani Olu is an entrepreneur, curator, artist and writer. He is the founder of Humble Arts Foundation, a 501c3 that supports and promotes new photography. From 2008 to 2012, he curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary photography, and spearheaded the four-part series Young Curators, New Ideas. In 2011 he joined Nadine Johnson & Associates as an art publicist for clients such as the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Marlborough Chelsea, and the Dallas Art Fair. Eighteen months later, he was named managing editor of Whitewall, having previously contributed to the magazine articles on artists William Eggleston, Zoe Crosher, Elad Lassry, and Rashaad Newsome. He left to establish Olu & Company, a marketing agency for the arts and beyond. In 2016 he ended his curatorial hiatus with an upcoming show at Storefront Ten Eyck. Olu makes art under the name “Scott Avery,” and is currently developing a platform for content creators. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Corliss Elizabeth Williams, their newborn daughter and 18lb. ginger cat, Pozzo.
About Storefront Ten Eyck
Storefront Ten Eyck is a gallery started by artist Deborah Brown to show the work of emerging Bushwick artists and to revisit the work of established artists. The gallery is located at 324 Ten Eyck Street in the heart of the Bushwick art community at the Grand Avenue stop on the L train. Deborah Brown is a Bushwick artist, curator, arts activist and board member of NURTUREart, BRIC Artist Advisory Council and Community Board #4 in Bushwick. Her work is represented by Mike Weiss Gallery in New York.