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The oil on canvas work, "The Architect Of Solitary Houses" shows artist Marketa Sivek's love of buildings and structures, even to the fascination of New York's Chrysler Building in the right side of the work. (Image courtesy of Market Sivek)
Visual artist Marketa Sivek was born and raised in communist Czechoslovakia, which is now Vsetin, Moravia, and moved to the United States to be with family in 1992.

A self-taught painter, Sivek began showing her works in 1994. 2011, Sivek had impressed of several art galleries including Park City's Terzian Galleries, who displayed her "Dress" series.

During that year's Sundance Film Festival, the series captivated a visiting Oprah Winfrey, who purchased some art for her private collection.

Sivek was thrilled that Winfrey bought a painting.

"I was ecstatic about that, of course, and I was very happy that she liked my work," Sivek said during a phone interview from her studio in Chicago, Ill. "The 'Dress' series is about catching someone's eye through seemingly little things that mean the world to you when you're little, and then remembering those feelings and special moments when you are older. That's when those memories become wrapped in nostalgia.

"I never thought about being recognized when I started painting," she said. "Art was always about the process and seeing what is inside of me and how to get that out."

The Terzian Galleries, 309 Main St., will host Sivek when she returns to Park City for an artist reception on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 5:30 p.m.

Memories are the inspiration for Sivek's works, whether she's painting her trademark structures and buildings or abstracts.

"Art is very connected to who you are and your upbringing and childhood, and that's where some of my works come from," she explained. "I have been attached to houses and structures and architecture since I was little. I've loved drawing and painting houses since I was little and I believe it's because of what a house means - warmth, shelter and where you go at the end of the day."

Sivek is also attracted to larger examples of architecture and engineering.

"I have been inspired by the Chrysler Building in New York quite a bit, because, to me, it's a symbol of beauty," she said. "It's funny, because I started using that particular building in my works after I read an article about (artist) Daniel Libeskind, who moved to the U.S. from Germany to work on Ground Zero in New York.

"He moved into an apartment that had a little tiny window in his bathroom," Sivek said. "From that tiny window, he could see the top of the Chrysler Building and I was so taken by that, because it seemed, to me, that is was so out of context."

Sivek's abstracts come from how she feels when she starts her day.

"Some of the abstracts have layers of paint and are very thick and some do not," she said with a laugh. "I come to work every morning and do what comes to mind. I turn on music and just get it out."

Sivek even injects some Western images into her works.

"I love the cowboys," she said and giggled. "We used to go see movies when I was a child that were supposed to be about cowboys, but were filmed in Czechoslovakia. All the actors spoke Czech, but I liked the images."

Sivek's initial interest in visual arts has been with her since she was in grade school.

"I remember my teacher in fifth grade asking the class what we would want to be when we grew up. I said I wanted to be a painter," she said. "I felt so far away from that achievement, but I kept drawing, painting and developing my style."

When she was 10, her father gave her a set of oil paints.

"I didn't know how to use them, and the first thing I did was

I ran and got a cup of water to use with the paints," Sivek said with a laugh. "I learned quickly that water and oils don't work together. Ever since then, I learned to figure things out on my own."

By the time she moved to the United States, Sivek had developed her style, but her philosophies had changed.

"Growing up in Communism, I felt it was normal, but when I came to the democratic lifestyle of the United States, I realized how stifling that environment was," she said. "I think the freedom comes out in my works. But the overall experience is positive, because what I did as a child is priceless."

Sivek also knows that while she has established a style, her works will continue to evolve.

"Art is a process and it's about who you are," she said. "I know my art will develop until the day I die, and that's how it should be.

"I have always needed to create art, because it's who I am," she said. "I love what I do and it's a lifestyle that is connected to me."

The Terzian Galleries, 309 Main St., will host an artist reception for Marketa Sivek, on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.terziangalleries.com.