Explorations and Expansions, The Mystique of Natural Forms

Barry Rudachyk

January 15 - 29, 2005

This show displays the unique work of Central East Ontario sculptor Barry Rudachyk. The themes of rebirth and reanimation stem from Rudachyk's skill with his chosen media: "found" antler, prehistoric ivory and hardwood burls.

The show also marks a significant progression in Rudachyk's work. His early pieces were often miniatures that he described as "wearable sculptures" - antler jewelry that took the form of pendants, bracelets and earrings. While Rudachyk still produces these equisite carvings, his more recent work has taken the form of larger, completely three dimensional sculptures using mixed but natural materials.

Using power and hand tools, Rudachyk coaxes his sculptures from exotic woods, naturally shed deer and moose antler and mastodon tusks that occasionally turn up in gold placer mines in Canada's north. He takes a once-living material and reanimates it by releasing sculptures with remarkable life-like qualities. His chosen subjects are usually Canadian wildlife, but he also occasionally carves mythical figures and faces. The inconsistent qualities of his chosen media often influence the result.

"That's the beauty of the work. It doesn't allow me to repeat anything. I'm continuously trying to learn and explore. I feel if I repeat a carving, I'm stagnating, I'm not challenging myself," says Rudachyk.

In his hands, the spreading base of an antler that once gripped the skull of a moose becomes a nest of newborn rabbits, so lifelike and limber the viewer can see the sheen of the afterbirth matting the rabbits' immature fur.

Rudachyk's style and work are unique, but he acknowledges influences from Japanese Netsuke (sculptors who create miniatures in ivory and wood), European miniature sculptors and Native art. His interest in Netsuke was probably partly responsible for his being chosen, along with several other Ontario artists, to display his work and technique at the Ontario Pavilion during Expo '90 in Japan.


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