Tayloe Piggott Gallery

Paul Villinski: Alight

Paul Villinski: Alight

fable by paul villinski

Paul Villinski

Fable, 2011

concord by paul villinski

Paul Villinski

Concord, 2011

Thursday, August 30, 2012Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Jackson, WY USA

Opening Reception: Friday, September 7, 5 – 8PM

Tayloe Piggott Gallery is pleased to present “Alight,” featuring the work of internationally acclaimed artist Paul Villinski. The exhibition, on display from August 30 through October 16, 2012, will open with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, September 7, which coincides with the Palates & Palettes Gallery Walk, a signature event of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. “Alight” marks Villinski’s debut in Jackson Hole.

In life and art, Paul Villinski explores flight. As a glider pilot, he sails the skies. As an artist, he coaxes clouds of tin butterflies into lyrical orbit.

A kite made from a brown paper bag with a shredded sock tail, an abandoned toy the New York artist found years ago at Coney Island, hangs on the wall of his studio. At first, he didn’t recognize its airborne design, but after it bounced along behind him for the length of the boardwalk, he took the talisman home. Villinski saw the homespun kite as a thing of wonder. “Someone had painstakingly, lovingly, taught a littered paper sack, an old sock and a length of thread to fly,” he said.

Such is his approach to art: he painstakingly, lovingly guides mundane materials into flight. Beer cans, flattened and charred, become transcendent butterflies soaring skyward from a cello as in “Fable.” Or, in “Concord,” they trace celestial spirals of their own inborn design. His sweeping sculptures cast contrails of shadows. Ever concerned for the environment, Villinski works with discarded materials: old records he has collected, or, as in “Alight,” cans abandoned on city streets. “I am drawn to humble, yet evocative materials; in this case, crushed beer cans from the streets of New York – every one of them once raised to someone’s lips.”

In his studio, he transforms the accordioned aluminum into winged wonders, a meditative process of flattening, snipping, filing. He allows them to fly in whatever form they choose. “As the butterflies alight on the walls of my studio, they lead into an exploration of formal, painterly issues. Often, they want to gather into a certain shape, or fly off on a particular tangent, and I let them.” The butterflies take on a dual nature. “They function both as marks in these abstract, three-dimensional ‘paintings,’ and as actors in curious narratives,” he said. “Some pieces develop a quirky, magic-realist quality, as if a strange child has trained the insects to perform some ritual dance we are not usually privy to.”

Butterflies, the world over, symbolize metamorphosis – a universal meaning at work in his art. From chrysalis to caterpillar to color, butterflies take on many forms – a life cycle Villinski creates for cans. “I try to develop a conceptual unity between materials, process, and imagery,” he said. “Metamorphosing littered beer cans into flocks of butterflies mirrors the act of transformation and rebirth that butterflies symbolize across all cultures.”

Born in York, Maine in 1960, Paul Villinski started his education at the Phillips Exeter Academy, followed by the Massachusetts College of Art and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He moved to New York City in 1982, and now lives with his partner painter Amy Park and their son Lark in a studio in Long Island City. Villinski has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and has been an Artist-in-Residence at many prestigious institutions including Wyoming’s own Ucross Foundation. His works hang in many public and private collections including the Museum of Arts and Design, NY, Miami International Airport, FL, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Offices, NY and Paris, France, and Fidelity Investments, NY.

For further information regarding the exhibition and Tayloe Piggott Gallery, please visit us online at www.tayloepiggottgallery.com or contact us at 307.733.0555 or art@tayloepiggottgallery.com.