Monday, January 15, 2007

Jon Pylypchuk

"If I sat around trying to figure out what I was doing I'd never get anything done."

I'm new to the work of Jon Pylypchuk. In fact, I'd never heard of him until about a month ago when I googled Royal Art Lodge. Where the heck have I been, right? I suppose my knowledge of contemporary art started to fade as soon as I handed in my final paper at OCAD. Fine craft became my primary focus after graduation and now here I am, virtually oblivious to what's been happening in the art world for the last 11 years.

Pylypchuk spoke at UofG this evening for an hour and a half, but I'm still not sure what to make of him. It was certainly interesting listening to him recall his time in Winnipeg, where he spent his early days creating 'what art was supposed to be'. One more 'F' would have finished his university career, so he initially entered the fine art program to boost his average. He then began experimenting with wood glue and fabric scraps, created a cast of fuzzy little creatures, earned his MFA from UCLA and voila! He's gained international recognition creating ironic artwork with crazy titles. As one reviewer described, "Imagine a former Muppet maker down on his luck, homeless but still working with whatever raw materials he can find on the street, tapping into feelings of abandonment, hurt, rage and fear. That's the effect of Jon Pylypchuk's zany assemblages and collages in which vulnerable anthropomorphic animals struggle to survive a terrifying universe." When asked about the meanings behind his characters, Pylypchuk responded, "If I sat around trying to figure out what I was doing I'd never get anything done."

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