Columbus cityscapes by Jessica Wojtasek on display at Studios on High
Growing up in Bridgeport, Ohio, Jessica Wojtasek attended a children’s art class at Ohio University Eastern, also located in Belmont County.
The precocious 10-year-old was particularly fond of painting city scenes with water-miscible oil paints.
“I grew up in the middle of nowhere and cities just seemed to thrive,” Wojtasek recalls.
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Wojtasek received a scholarship and graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design. The 36-year-old Columbus resident is still in love with cities, especially the one she lives in.
17 works by Jessica Wojtasek on display
A selection of 17 of her cityscapes – all featuring Columbus neighborhoods – can be seen in Between the Lines: Midwest Cityscapes at studios at the High Gallery in the Short North.
In these vibrant paintings large and small, Wojtasek has captured street scenes and businesses in Short North, Downtown Columbus, German Village, and Clintonville. Most of the paintings are night scenes, many of which capture streets and sidewalks glittering after a gentle rain.
“I like the reflections. It seems to make the scenes more dynamic and interesting. I like how the lights play in the shadows,” said Wojtasek.
Large paintings include View From the Joseph, a dizzying aerial view of the streets of Short North from the top floor of The Joseph Hotel. “Third and Broad” captures the downtown corner with Trinity Episcopal Church, the former Dispatch Building and the State Capitol. All of these works use vanishing points and function as design and color studies.
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Small works show many Columbus companies
Smaller works function as vignettes or snapshots of different companies. “Studio 35”, “North Market” and “The Book Loft” are postcards of some iconic stores in Columbus.
Wojtasek has continued to work with water-miscible oil paints, which she says are less toxic than other paints while still providing rich color. She paints from photographs taken in her favorite neighborhoods in Columbus.
“People say, ‘Why don’t you do scenes from Chicago or somewhere else?’ But I like to paint what I know, where I live… I love typical Midwestern places that some people consider ‘boring’.”
She cites Edward Hopper as one of her favorite painters, another artist skilled in night scenes in ordinary places.
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Wojtasek is a member of Studios on High, an artist collective founded in 1987 and one of the oldest galleries in the short north. With the other artist members, she helps run the gallery and takes turns presenting exhibitions of her work.
This exhibit is packed with Columbus scenes that are both striking and vivid, yet comforting. Wojtasek’s dynamic cityscapes are love letters to some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods.
At a glance
Between the Lines: Midwest Cityscapes runs through November 3 at Studios on High, 686 N. High St. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Call 614-461-6487 or visit www.studiosonhigh.com.