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.”
Curiosity 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 cierramcguckie.com.
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