The 1947 Chevy school bus parked behind Scott Dykema’s house is his art studio.
“I basically work in a hallway on wheels with a lot of windows,” he says.
It is difficult to picture a school bus without the usual connotations — sticky seats, clunky seat-belts, stringy tears in seat backs, and the unspoken yet seemingly universal rules (“cool kids in the back”).
But, as far as career shifts go, the Dykema bus has taken a, shall we say, U-turn.
Despite a stationary second life, the school bus still travels through Dykema’s art — an “ever-evolving” and intellectual process.
From his richly metaphoric and undoubtedly unconventional studio, Dykema creates gestural and evocative compositions.
Each one of his paintings is like a stop along his artistic bus route; one of the stops is, our Piece of the Week, A Ladies Business and Exercise Club (36”x36”).
The mixed-media work – in oil, acrylic, and spray paint – comprises seven elongated, sportive ladies. Clad in long dresses and accessorized with various business and exercise accoutrements, the women confront the viewer with apathetic gazes.
“They don’t care what you think of them,” says Dykema.
While the stylish coterie share a certain, au courant flounciness, they are emphatically individualized.
Each woman has her own distinctive hairstyle and dress.
The artist says, “the women are independent in every way. They were there interacting without saying a thing.”
While the women may be tight-lipped and tacit, the color speaks.
The composition’s background is a murky, gunmetal gray haze that converses with the complexions of the figures. Patches of golden yellow, aqua, pink and red jump out of the dark.
The painting has an active quality — a routine of ocular calisthenics. The eye jumps around the figures and colors.
“As an artist I work in a very physical way and my intuition allows me to do things that my brain will not let me do,” says Dykema.
Like the ladies in the painting, Dykema himself is an athlete.
Dykema is an ultra runner; In that way, he subscribes to the physical culture emphasized in the painting.