Joseph O'Sickey. American Artist
For seven decades, Cleveland's Joseph O'Sickey has played the French modernist scale of colors and values — ranging from Bonnard's fleshy subtleties to the inventions of Matisse — with incomparable aplomb.
Though long well-known to Cleveland's relatively small arts audience, O'Sickey became more widely admired following his first solo show, at the Akron Museum in 1962. That same year, he earned the Cleveland Museum of Art's Best Painting award in its annual May Show — though his first May Show inclusion was in 1938, and he was to win Best Painting three more times in 1964, 1965 and 1967. O'Sickey has been one of Cleveland's best-known contemporary painters, educators and designers for more than 40 years, showing frequently in New York and even more often around Northeast Ohio.
Though O'Sickey has worked in a number of different manners, his dominant mode owes much to the visual fragmentation often associated with post-impressionism — Vuillard's obsessive patterning, Bonnard's atmospheric shifts and changes in perspective, and the syncopated integration of figure and ground typical of Matisse, a dance resembling the constant movement of light and shade on a wind-stirred autumn day. Many of O'Sickey's works, especially the larger ones, are as richly colored and complex as a Middle-eastern textile. They offer a magic-carpet trip through his own back yard near Kent, transfigured by a lifetime spent in the contemplation of line, color and composition.