Morgan Lehman is pleased to launch the fall exhibition schedule with a solo show of new works by mid-career artist Paul Villinski.
Flight and transformation are themes that pervade Villinski’s eclectic body of work. An avid sailplane pilot, soaring flight has aesthetic and conceptual implications for Villinski. In his most recent body of work, this interest takes the symbolic form of butterflies, precisely cut by hand from discarded aluminum cans. The individual components, each unique and often pigmented or gilded, are sculpted to represent specific species of butterflies. Villinski painstakingly deploys hundreds of these fluttering elements across the gallery walls in pointillist compositions that resemble minimalist, geometric paintings.
Villinski’s fondness for utilizing found objects is a way of giving new life to discarded things. In his work, the objects become stand-ins for the people who once used them, and thus become studies in identity. The butterflies are at once whimsical and evocative. They refer to loss and potential rebirth, while creating a fantastical environment in which littered cans become delicate and beautiful entities. Villinski’s serene installations are a means for contemplation and transformation.
In My Back Pages, a signature new work, Villinski gives new life and meaning to his decades-old vinyl LP collection. The title refers to the autobiographical quality of the artist’s personal record collection – the soundtrack to his own life – and alludes to Arlo Guthrie’s 1969 song “My Front Pages”. In this piece, the glossy black forms, their colorful center labels still legible, are assembled into a wall installation of butterflies emanating from a 1970’s turntable. Caught in the record’s end groove, the needle’s slow scratching drone urges the winged forms out onto the gallery walls.