Northampton Community College gets a special treat this spring as visionary artist Frank “Wyso” Wysochansky has artwork on display in the Keystone Hall at the Monroe campus. The Exhibit, titled “WYSO’s Coal Miners of Northeastern PA” features a variety of works of art made in various media, including pen, ink, watercolor, crayons and even sculptures. The artwork depicts the daily lives of coal miners, from workers to family portraits. His brilliant and original use of materials is what really sparks interest.
Born in 1915,WYSO began making art at a young age. Many believe that his father, a coal miner, and his familiarity with the mines acted as the inspiration for his work. His art career took off between 1946 and 1969 while working as a cartoonist for the United Mine Workers Journal; WYSO has created thousands of artworks, many of which have been exhibited all throughout the United States, including Washington D.C., Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The towns where his art has been on display are as diverse as his mix of media.
WYSO is famous for using the technique of bricolage in the creation of his artwork. He used wire coat hangers, light bulbs, chicken bones, empty cans, cardboard, curtain rods, newspaper, or anything he could find available to create his wonderfully imaginative sculptures.
Since his death in 1994, WYSO’s art has been maintained by the newly established WYSO foundation in Bethlehem, PA. The foundation organizes exhibitions of WYSO’s art at education institutions such as NCC, as well as galleries and art museums. WYSO’s artwork is represented exclusively by the Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery, which is also located in Bethlehem, PA.
A closing reception for the WYSO’s exhibition will take place from 6:30 – 8:30 pm on March 20 in the Dunning Art Gallery in Keystone hall at NCC’s Monroe campus. Steven Lichak, Director of the WYSO foundation and Thomas Shillea, WYSO Foundation Board Member and Director of Art programs at NCC will present a lecture about WYSO’s art and life on March 20 at 7:30 pm in Room 201 in Keystone Hall. More information about Frank Wysochansky or the Wyso Foundation can be found at www.frankwyso.org.