I know the plugin page says you cannot change the order of in which items display in wp_cycle_posts plugin, but this is not actually true. I've easily been able to change the order direction and field by using the "filter" field.
Here's an example of how I do this. See the "orderby" and "order" params in the filter field.
[wp_cycle_posts filter="post_type=artwork&orderby=menu_order&order=ASC" override="thumbnail_size=large&img_width=700&img_height=500&align=left"]
Thought you all might want to now!