Jon Pylypchuk’s work evolves from the realm of the pathetic. His drawings and sculptures bring to life a make-believe world populated by abused cuddly creatures, where emotional frailty and menace are worn on every shirt sleeve and pet tag. Mirroring the naked state of the human condition, Pylpchuk’s tragic-comic figures are both loveable and loathsome, recreating instances of pitiful irony that ring all too true. In I Miss You, Danger… Pylypchuk’s raggedy poodle sulks in the discontents of retirement, the kicked dog epitome of loneliness and obsolescence.
Jon Pylypchuk makes his sculptures from the most impoverished materials: scraps of wood, remnant fabric, felt, glitter, and glue. Rendered with wonky ‘best attempt’ aesthetics, Pylypchuk mines all the sentimental authenticity of the unloved yet hopeful media of craft camps and community workshops. So Then We Will Burn You… pictures wee critters gathering around their stricken colleague. Reducing the moral sophistication of the adult world to artless simplicity, Pylypchuk plays out horror and grief with child-like naiveté and chilling matter-of-fact-ness, authoring a folktale of tactlessness, discomfort, and inadequacy.
Jon Pylypchuk’s menagerie of cartoon animals evokes unconditional empathy. Attributed with all the unsavoury traits of human character, his varmint cohort of furry victims and bastards become endearing effigies of the dark side of social psychology. Transposing the unthinkable (or unadmitable) into sub-human form, Pylypchuk’s characters become neutral targets for emotional displacement; in his gawpy animal kingdom there is no right or wrong, only a Darwinian hierarchy and Peter Principle law of nature. In Don’t Press Too Much Luck, Pylypchuk’s black cats’ sexual behaviour is cringe-worthy in its aura of patchwork innocence. Velvety plush with slitty vamp eyes, Pylypchuk’s characters are irresistibly charming in their obscenity.
Throughout Jon Pylypchuk’s work is an irrepressible optimism, an underdog’s against-all-odds drive for meaningful existence in a barbaric world. Hopefully I Will Live Through This… sprawls across the gallery floor in a chaotic rodent war of puke and death, as tiny rat-soldiers meet their demise not in a moment of battle glory, but an outbreak of poisoning. Crafted with farcical malevolence, Pylypchuk implies an ‘us vs. them’ narrative featuring viewer as villain: his microcosm spoilt by a towering on-looking exterminator. There’s a pang of sympathy as the cute little nasties limp on gun-crutches and writhe in agony, but it’s only momentary in the over all satisfaction of poetic justice well served.