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Lost, found, art

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Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:33 am, Fri Apr 5, 2013.

In the art world, there’s always another way to do things — an alternative method or even a different place to get materials.

Found objects, both man-made and natural, are what intrigues Tom Pyrzewski, Wayne State’s interim director of galleries. The things he uses have a history that he said plays a part in his method while he creates a piece.

Pyrzewski compared his process to the formation of human and animal bodies. He starts with an armature — a sort of skeletal structure that serves as the base — and then takes rubber with pipe, hose, branches or myriad other objects and secures it all to the skeleton, much like muscles do. After that, he covers the piece in cloth dipped in paint that will make it more durable.

He said there is no explanation to his work and — while he follows some basic principles — it is an overall state of emotion that determines what the end result will be.

“It’s basic elements and principles of design, but at the same time it’s really complex ‘cause in a way I feel there’s this energy channeling through me,” he said.

Once, he spent eight months on a piece, only to walk into his studio one day and cut it in half because he wasn’t pleased with it. Another piece he made in three weeks won an award.

“It’s about the energy,” he said. “You could sit down in three hours and make a prize-winning piece, or you could spend three years on a piece.”

As a lecturer in the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, he developed a gallery internship course that was first offered this semester, which he said was a great experience for him and the students. He tells students to use found objects in their art because they’re usually free and are unique to the individual. Most of his materials are donated.

Pyrzewski also organized the WSU Campus Art Installation Award. Five students, both undergraduate and graduate, were chosen from dozens of submissions to create site-specific installations at different locations on campus.

Voting for the best piece began April 16 and goes to May 6. Voting and a map of the installations can be found at cfpca.wayne.edu. The winners of Best Installation Award — $500 — and the First Place Award — $250 — will be announced at the closing ceremony of the Art Department Gallery’s Undergraduate Art Exhibition 5-8 p.m. May 13.

Most of his work have human names for a couple of reasons. First, he doesn’t want to tell anyone what the piece is supposed to be, even though they’re clearly not human. He wants them to make up their mind for themselves. The other reason is that oftentimes, if a sculpture reminds him of someone he knows, he will usually name it after them. The piece is not finished until someone sees it, he said, as it is meant to provoke a reaction from the viewer.

“I’m interested in creating an emotion for the viewer rather than a literal description telling the viewer what it is,” Pyrzewski said. “It’s not complete until the viewer reacts to it, including myself, because I feel that I’m a viewer to my own work too.”

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