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Artist reception and art walk in Oyster Bay

"A Better Word For Drowning," by John Stack. Mixed medium on Ply wood and paper, 2010. Based on the poem "Diamonds" by Kasmira Barrett. Photo credit: John Stack Photo Credit: John Stack/

Who knew that our unconscious mind could produce art?

Apparently, John Stack did. The 25-year-old mixed-media expressionist from Smithtown produces work spontaneously, without knowing what he’s trying to create. Then, Stack says, he begins to see figures and forms in the random lines, shapes or blobs and develops them further.

After a year of this methodology under his belt, Stack will present his work in a solo show called "Revealing the Unconscious," Thursday during a free artist reception at ART (that matters) – an arts collective that offers support and guidance to up-and-coming, local artists – in Oyster Bay.

The show – part of the Oyster Bay Art Walk that is held every first Thursday of the month – will be on view through January 25.

Stack, who has shown at Toast Coffeehouse and Painters’ in Long Island, is a graduate of Alfred University with a Bachelor of Fine Art.

He says his creative process commences with a blank page and music, especially by Tool – his favorite rock band.

“I’m really inspired by music. It sets a pace for my movement,” says Stack. “I really like to paint fast…I think it gives a cadence to the work.”

Stack uses acrylic and oil paints, pastels, markers, ink, charcoal and even crayons in some of his works.

“A lot of my work starts with a black ink drawing and I paint into it,” Stack says. “I like to leave part of the sketch marks in the final image, because I want the process to be seen in the final image.”

Of the 19 works in the show, six of them were inspired by the poetry of friends. It all began when a friend gave him a poem that was very emotional.

“I just kind of put it away and started to paint and then I saw the poem inside the painting,” Stack says. (He’s still on the hunt for creative, literary work to inspire more paintings).

So why come to this show?

“I just feel like I bring something different to the table because of the materials that I use,” Stack says. “I hope that (people) fight the cold and come out. I feel that my work will take you to a new place that you haven’t been before and I hope that people will want to take the ride.”

WHAT "Revealing the Unconscious," solo exhibition by John Stack, through Jan. 25
WHEN /WHERE Artist Reception 7-9 p.m. Thursday during the Oyster Bay Art Walk; Business hours are 1-4 p.m. Thursday – Saturday or by appointment; at ART (that matters), 55 W. Main St., Oyster Bay.
INFO 917-769-9921 or



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