villinski_hero_travelgallery.jpg

Traveling Exhibitions

Paul Villinski: Farther

Saturday, September 01, 2018 - Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Taubman Museum of Art is pleased to present the mid-career retrospective Farther by New York-based sculptor Paul Villinski (American, born 1960). Villinski’s sculptures and installations engage with subjects both sublime and neglected. Influenced by a lifelong concern for environmental issues, his work reinvisions seemingly useless and discarded materials, often trash found on the streets of New York City, into uplifting and humanizing works of art. Thirteen major sculptures and installations created over the past few decades explore recurrent themes in the artist’s work: flight, community, the environment, and more intimate narratives such as addiction and recovery, all united by Villinski’s central preoccupation: transformation. He states, “I’m fascinated by the simple alchemy of transforming humble, discarded materials into things of beauty and layered meaning. This speaks to the idea of potential, of the surprising things that can be done with imagination, commitment, risk, and hard work — with enough love.”

Villinski’s work is quietly reverent and reflective. Flocks of reclaimed aluminum-can butterflies in Arcus and Gyre, and wings feathered with gleaming knives in Aerialist evoke motifs of flight, metamorphosis and rebirth. His progressive installation, Castaways, features an accumulating flock of birds made in conjunction with the Roanoke community. Molded from pulped junk paper, Castaways speaks to the excessive and frivolous waste of our natural resources. In Quilt and Comforter, Villinski grapples with the topics of addiction and recovery using symbolic materials such as belts, liquor bottles, and gloves to evoke feelings of chaos, fear, protection, and communal healing. Throughout the exhibited works, a sense of magic and otherworldliness pervades commonplace objects. Elements of nature perform quasi-heroic acts and offer benedictions: butterflies levitate and swirl from doors, ladders and chairs, while birds morph from obsolete LP records, taking flight like musical notes. Created with acute mechanical finesse, Villinski’s deft creatures astound and lead the viewer to, in the artist’s words, “an exploration of the possible, at the heart of which is hope.”

The traveling exhibition Paul Villinski: Farther is available from September 2018 through January 2023. For more information please call Kimberly C. Piland, Exhibition Coordinator, at 540.204.4126 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Exhibition_Tile_Photos_1
Exhibition_Tile_Photos_2
Exhibition_Tile_Photos_3
Exhibition_Tile_Photos_4
Exhibition_Tile_Photos_5
Exhibition_Tile_Photos_6

Burst, 2013, Vinyl LP records, wire, Installation and dimensions variable

Wishful Thinking (detail), 1998 Steel, leather boots, 32” x 9” x 13”

Arcus (detail), 2012, Aluminum (found cans), stainless steel wire, Flashe, 62”x 142”x 9

Quilt (detail), 2017, Leather belts, books, found liquor bottles, wooden child's chair, 102” H x 109” W x 140”D

Prescience, 2017, Aluminum (found cans), wire, soot, 55-1/2 x 46-1/2 x 6-1/2”

Comforter, 1994, Cotton gloves, hand-stitching, cast iron bed frame, 42-1/4” x 82-1/4” x 51”

All artworks courtesy of Paul Villinski.

Installation photography by Jeff Hofmann.