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Weird Lady Alert: Artist Cierra McGuckie Curiosities, Oddities & Sideshow Characters

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By Derrick White

Egypt’s Hatshepsut was one of the most powerful women in the ancient world. Empress Theodora was one of the most influential women in the middle ages. Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter symbolizes real women who filled factories and shipyards during World War II. Artist J. Howard Miller created the ‘We Can Do It!’ poster, based on factory worker Geraldine Doyle, who was also becoming a Rosie the Riveter. Supergirl is the female counterpart to the iconic Superman, created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino in 1959.

Do not let her cape fool you; local Tyler artist Cierra McGuckie is a serious and super artist. I have never met anyone else so eager to smile and laugh. She is funny, quick-witted, talented, and offbeat in that good way this world really needs. She creates works two-dimensionally in oil, acrylic, ink, charcoal and mixed media. Originally from Celeste, Texas, Cierra attended Tyler Junior College from 2005-2007. She served as Art Club president, was a showcase artist, and the art department assistant. McGuckie’s art is painterly and rich but with the influence of commercialism symbols and iconography. Her work invites viewers to visually meander closely to her convincing brushstrokes and graceful lines, but also allows one to stand back and feel the powerful gut punch of a strong image. Cierra McGuckie states, “My inspiration includes women from the past with their differences and similarities likened to our culture today.”

Cierra-McGuckie-4Curiosity is a strong desire to know about something, or sometimes about a strange or unusual object. It is also the confusing influence McGuckie’s paintings have on those fortunate enough to experience them. Superior art is defined by its ability to make viewers feel human emotions, think and ponder aspects of the human condition, and sometimes raise confounding human questions in the audience’s mind even if there are no logical answers. Cierra’s work creates a kind of psychological acumen with powerful, emotional intensity. Who are these women? Are they dead? Immortalized? Ghosts? Regardless, they are visually entrancing and your mind begins to create a narrative and starts to piece together a genealogy while you are unable to look away from the haunting stares.

Cierra creates in a range of media, styles, and subjects, but is probably most noted for her eerie depictions of old and deceased women. “I started as most do when I was a kid, and I just continued to do what I was passionate about,” she states. When we talk of the importance of art in her life she says, “The most important thing art has given me is an outlet for my weirdness and freedom to represent this in any form I select. It also has allowed me to meet and befriend some of the most amazing and talented people I know.”

About her influences Cierra admits, “It is tough to choose, but I would say artist Alice Neel. Her paintings specifically tickle my fancy. I love the intensity and authenticity of her work.” The influence is unmistakable. Alice Neel (an American painter 1900 – 1984) was predominantly known for her no-holds-barred, gritty portraits. When discussing creative frustrations Cierra told me, “The most frustrating thing as an artist is having the need to create, but not being able to do so due to time restraints. It’s all about balance, and I’m pretty terrible at that.” Like most of us, she is no juggling circus clown, but she does have a husband, a stepson, and a three-year-old daughter running around, so anyone who has been there knows it is a wonder she gets anything done at all. Find what you love to do and devote your life to doing that. No matter what happens you have to take time to create or express. You have to forget about logic, and fear, and doubt. You just have to do everything you can to get to the one thing that is going to make it all worthwhile and at the end of the day, you have to jump.

Cierra McGuckie earned an Associate’s Degree in Art from Tyler Junior College in 2007 and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2010.

To contact her directly and ask what the heck is going on
in that outlandish, crazy brain of hers, please e-mail her at:

You can also very shortly you can check out her website (coming soon) at


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UT Tyler Graduate Student Exhibits Feature Steel, Wood Creations


The University of Texas at Tyler Department of Art and Art History is proud to announce three exhibitions featuring three-dimensional artists seeking a master of arts and master of fine arts degrees this spring.  

“Students and visitors to our galleries will be in for a special treat as this semester’s master-level artists craft wood and steel into their own unique artistry,” said Gallery and Media Coordinator Michelle Taff.

The Meadows Gallery currently features “With Wood and Paint” by masters of fine arts candidate Jake Arnold of Bullard. Arnold’s work is centered in additive and subtractive wood-working, and it incorporates both aggressive geometrical and softer voluptuous forms touched with paint. A public reception with artist talk will be at 6pm on Thursday, March 22 at the gallery.

The Fine Arts Complex Gallery currently features “Finding Place” by master of arts candidate Kirsti Smith of Canton. Smith’s wooden sculptural forms explore relationships and community and how well individuals fit and find place in their own surroundings. A public reception with artist talk will be 6 p.m. Thursday, March 29 at the Fine Arts Complex gallery.  

Both exhibits conclude Friday, March 30.

In addition, master of fine arts candidate Brandon Witschi of West Virginia will display his sculpture in an exhibition titled “Beyond Compression” in the Meadows Gallery. Witschi combines steel and other media to create forms that emphasize balance, stability and individuality. A public reception with artist talk will be 6 p.m. Thursday, April 12 at the Meadows Gallery. The exhibit will conclude Friday, April 13.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by special appointment. For more information, contact Taff, 903.566.7237 or

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.


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On Exhibit at The University of Texas at Tyler Art Galleries


UT Tyler hosts several galleries with a variety of art on exhibit. For more info, call (903)566-7237 or email On exhibit this month:

There are several galleries. The Meadows Gallery is located within the R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center on the campus of UT Tyler and features rotating exhibitions. The Meadows Gallery exhibition schedule includes nationally known guest artist exhibitions, the Annual International Exhibition, faculty curated exhibitions, MFA thesis exhibitions, and a student juried exhibition each summer.

The UC Gallery is located on the second floor of the University Center. This gallery is dedicated to exhibiting student work.

The Fine Arts Complex (FAC/ARC) Gallery is located in the new Fine Arts Complex. The FAC Gallery provides a place for invited artists, undergraduates, and graduate students to display their works. In conjunction with art history courses, students have curated exhibitions from the Tyler Museum of Art’s permanent collection, given talks on the work, and hosted opening receptions in the gallery.

Exhibits scheduled are:

  • Thru March 9th – 33rd Annual International Exhibition

  • March 22nd (6pm) – MFA Thesis Exhibition Reception: Daniel Jake Arnold (Meadows Gallery)

  • March 29th (6pm) – MA Thesis Exhibition Reception: Kirsti Smith (FAC Gallery)

  • April 7th – 4th Annual Art History Symposium (ARC 112)

  • April 10th (5:30pm) – MA Thesis Presentation by JoBeth Cox (ARC 112)

  • April 12th (6pm) – MFA Thesis Exhibition Reception: Brandon Witschi (Meadows Gallery)

  • April 19th (5:30pm) – BA Thesis Presentation by Cree Summerfield (ARC 112)

  • April 19th (6pm) – 1st BFA Thesis Exhibition Reception (FAC Gallery)

  • April 26th (6pm) – 2nd BFA Thesis Exhibition Reception (FAC Gallery)

  • May 3rd (6pm) Annual Juried Student Exhibition Reception and Juror Talk (Meadows Gallery)


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Call for Artist: “Unfettered” Exhibit April 7th

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Call for Artist:

“Unfettered” Exhibit April 7th at Wagner Auto Group, Tyler

Attention artists: submission for the Art Show “Unfettered” to be held Saturday, April 7th (7-11pm), Wagner Auto Group, Tyler. This one night curated art show will have a scene like no other. “This will be an extremely exciting evening out to peruse original art, watch live art demos, and check out some extremely talented art vendors,” said Kerian Massey, curator of the show.

“We are looking for a variety of art with the theme of ‘Unfettered.’ To be unfettered is to come undone, to let go or to become free, without ties. Any artwork that carries this theme in any loose fashion will be considered.”

For more info contact Kerian Massey at or call (903)714-7414

All art will be juried in by a panel of judges. Notice of Acceptance will be given Monday, March 26th.

For those who want to be a part of the show but would like to sell more, there will be an area for select fine art for sale. All artwork is subject to review for quality and content. Absolutely no resale items with the exception of canvas prints and fine art prints.

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