'The Secret Landscapes of the Mind' on display at Westmont arts center

Jan. 19—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — An adventure of the mind and a journey of thought await visitors to this exhibition.

"The Secret Landscapes of the Mind," the art of Evgeny Krayushkin, known artistically as ZheKa, is on display through Feb. 24 in the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center gallery at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.

The show features oil and acrylic paintings, and sculpture and relief paintings, which is when painting and sculpture are featured together in the work, creating 3D pieces out of 2D components.

"My goal and passion as an artist is to create an interesting story," the Huntingdon County resident said.

"I would like to invite you to explore some secret corners of the mind and possibly discover something about yourself in the process."

Individual stories

ZheKa said he focuses on and appreciates the complexities of each individual story.

"My characters are multi-dimensional in medium, as well as their individual narrative," he said.

"They are inspired by and drawn from life and its fine complexities.

"Life, with all its conflicts, struggles, adversity, and of course beauty."

The exhibit includes 50 pieces, including original works created for the show.

"This themed show showcases a large body of work and allows people to basically see all of my mediums and a range of stories throughout those mediums," ZheKa said.

He said he explores and discovers ways to entertain himself and the audience with a well-developed story.

ZheKa added that he enjoys the challenges of the visual narrative, a complete story, expressed within one image, but with so much more written between the lines.

"Every thought is a journey that leads you toward discovery," he said.

"I enjoy the complexity of it all and exploring a meaningful story."

ZheKa said his pieces are portraits of real people, but he uses his artistic vision to represent them.

"They do come out different, but that's what makes it fun," he said.

"The story of the individual is what drives me, and I paint my own picture of the individual. My whole outlook on art reminds you of storytelling and literature because I tackle that challenge, and I try to show a complex narrative through this one image. I try to discover the main character, the setting, the plot, the resistance and then some kind of resolution."

ZheKa said stories are what inspires him.

"I'm always driven by some kind of a meaning, some exploration and a thought as a journey," he said.

"My reward is some sort of a discovery. I really like the intellectual process and the combination of thinking, but also the imagery of it."

He is represented by several Pennsylvania galleries, including Bottle Works in Johnstown and Picture Perfect Gallery in Hollidaysburg, Blair County.

For the past 11 years, ZheKa has been working as a family-based mental health therapist.

In addition, he is a teaching artist for the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and is working on special art projects with schools and other community organizations.

'Finding solace'

Rachel Turco, the arts center's exhibition and community engagement developer, said when looking at ZheKa's art, she is transported to a different world.

"When you look at his art, there's an individual person," she said.

"When I look at it, I think of finding solace in being by yourself and finding yourself. It kind of looks like a cotton candy daydream with pinks and blues and really beautiful soft colors. I've noticed a theme of loneliness, but not really in a negative way. It's more about finding yourself."

Turco said viewers will be able to relate their own stories to the art.

"It's about finding what your purpose is and finding that comfort in being alone and beauty in it," she said.

"They can sit with themselves and be lost in these little worlds that he has created."

To celebrate the exhibition, an opening reception will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

ZheKa will be on hand to discuss his work and thought process.

In addition, a video tour and artist lecture about the artwork will be available on the arts center's YouTube channel and Facebook page following the opening reception of the show.

In conjunction with the exhibition, ZheKa will hold two artist workshops for the public.

From 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 18, he will present "Secret Landscapes of the Mind."

ZheKa will lead participants through painting a landscape that goes with a particular feeling of peace, relaxation and calm.

From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18, ZheKa will offer "Telling a Personal Story in Art."

He will teach participants how to create a meaningful visual narrative in their artwork, producing positive thoughts and personal growth.

"It's a lot of fun, and you can tell your story through art," ZheKa said.

"There's a lot in inspiration that comes out of it."

The classes, which are limited to 10 people each, are geared toward all artistic skill levels.

Cost is $30 for members and $35 for nonmembers for each workshop.

"People will learn a lot technique wise with the different mediums and how to get their ideas onto canvas," Turco said.

"This will be your own journey, and it doesn't have to be moving forward. It can be one that you've experienced already, one that you're going through currently or something that you hope to be through in the future."

Scholarships are available to attend the workshop. Those interested can apply at www.caccc.org/exhibits.

To learn more about ZheKa's art, visit www.zheka-art.weebly.com.

Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

There is no fee to view the exhibition.

For more information, call 814-255-6515 or visit www.caccc.org.