About The Artist

Meredith Dytch is a Chicago artist living and working in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. She has been painting and drawing since childhood, but in 2006, after retiring from a career as an architect, she became serious about a second career as an artist. Since then, she has studied with landscape painter Ann Christensen in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and local artists Didier Nolet, Bill Bartelt and Ann Ponce. Ms. Dytch has been in numerous group shows, and is a member of The Chicago Artist’s Coalition and The Senior Artists Network. Her painting “Ashland Underpass” won an award for “Artistic Excellence” from the 2010 SAN show “Later Impressions,” and her painting “Through the Looking Glass” won a juror’s prize at The Art Center of Highland park’s show “Explorations – New Work by New Artists.” Most recently her piece “Logan Square Alley” won a juror’s prize from the 2012 “Later Impressions” show. Her work is in numerous private collections.

Artists’ Statement

When I paint the city, the scenes that I choose to paint are informed by my belief that there is beauty to be found in many places that aren’t normally thought of as having aesthetic value. Abandoned buildings, rusting viaducts, overgrown vacant lots and trash-filled alleys present their own authentic face to the world – we just don’t usually see them as places worth paying much attention to. Our eye skips over them as we flash by in our cars or trains. Sometimes these places are dirty. We don’t want to look too closely. I come to my art from a background as an architect and as a fan of Japanese design. Having been an architect has left me with certain feelings about the built environment – about the way in which we build it, but it then lives, so to speak, a life of its own, separate from us, but alongside us. At the same time, being a fan of all things Japanese has given me an appreciation of the aesthetic philosophy known as wabi-sabi. Wabi is about the natural, the simple, whatever is closest to nature: a simple clay pot that may even retain the mark of the potter’s thumb. Sabi is about the beauty inherent in the old, the decaying, the weathered: a wooden barn door from which most of the paint has peeled. These ideas were far from fully formed when I first decided to devote myself to art. I had always loved the Hudson River painters, and vaguely imagined myself creating small, gem-like landscapes in a 19th century style. I was frustrated, though, because I lacked the source material I thought I needed. Then one day I took a watercolor class given by Bill Bartelt, a local watercolor artist. Bill took the class on a tour of the neighborhood (it was my neighborhood, too!) and showed us his favorite alleys and streets. I suddenly realized that I had all the source material I could ever use – it was all around me. My understanding of what constituted a fit subject for a painting evolved in an instant. The next day, I went out and took some photos, and created my first oil painting of an urban scene. My ideas about painting the built environment took another turn when I was introduced to the work of the British-born, Yale-educated artist, Rackstraw Downes. I was very drawn to his insistence on documenting his surroundings without glamorizing them. The built environment, Downes says, has its own honesty, and needs no idealization. This philosophy meshed with my own. There is an innate dignity and honesty to the crumbling and rusting infrastructure that we see around us – and in that dignity and honesty resides beauty.

Selected Exhibitions:

(names in boldface were juried shows>

ARC Gallery – Solo Show, February, 2015 (dates to be announced)

Old Town Triangle Association – Solo Show – November 2014 (dates to be announced)
Chicago, Illinois

Wilmette Public Library – Solo Show – July, 2014
Wilmette, Illinois

Wilmette Public Library 31st Juried Art Show – Group show
Wilmette Public Library, Wilmette, Illinois

“Painting the Town” – Group show
Beverly Arts Center

“Hidden City” – One Person Show
Chicago Cultural Center – Renaissance Court

“Later Impresacsions,” Group show, Rennaisance Court, Chicago Cultural Center
Senior Artists Network. Juror’s prize for “Logan Square Alley.”

Orland Park Public Library – One Person Show
Orland Park, Illinois

Bucktown Public Library – Group Show
Chicago, Illinois

“Explorations – New Work by New Artists”
The Art Center, Highland Park, Illinois
Jurors’ Prize for “Through the Looking Glass.”

“Faces and Spaces” – Group show at 47th Ward Offices, Chicago, Illinois
June 24th through mid-July

“RavensHood – Art from the Corridor” – Two-Person show at Images Gallery, Chicago, IL

Art Loop Open, City-wide group show, sponsored by CAC and the Chicago Loop Alliance. Merchandise Mart, Chicago

“Later Impressions,” Group show, Rennaisance Court, Chicago Cultural Center
Senior Artists Network. Juror’s prize for “Ashland Underpass.”.

“Urban Eyes,” Two-person Show, Coalition Gallery
Chicago Illinois

“Curator’s Choice, Part 1,” Group Show, Coalition Gallery
Chicago Illinois

“22 in a Million,” Group Show, River East Art Center
Chicago, Illinois

“22 in a Million,” Group Show, Coalition Gallery
Chicago, Illinois

Group Show, Coalition Gallery
Chicago, Illinois

“CAC Around Town”
Orange Restaurant (on Clark St.)
Chicago, Illinois

Wilmette Library Group Art Show
Wilmette, Illinois

“Explorations – New Work by New Artists”
The Art Center
Highland Park, Illinois

“Meredith Dytch – Recent Paintings,”
Joel Berman Architecture & Design
Chicago, Illinois

“Women in the Arts: A Celebration.”
Effe Leven Gallery
Chicago, Illinois

Contact Meredith Dytch

email mdytch@yahoo.com Cityscapes, Urban Landscapes 773-273-9824