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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.