David Czupryn’s surrealist paintings combine fantasy and hyperrealism in mind-bending ways that toy with the viewer’s perception. A former sculptor, Czupryn’s meticulous depiction of materials (developed through obsessive study) result in his art’s deceptive nature. In Figure of Speech, Czupryn manipulates the senses to transform the illusionary surface of the canvas into that of a three-dimensional wooden relief.
Czupryn’s deft use of trompe l’oeil is deeply disconcerting. His brush lays down surfaces so smooth and precise they deny the gestures from which they are born. One has the sense that his pictures have not so much been painted, or even in this case carved, but are rather cast as a single integral whole. This gives the impression that in Figure of Speech the natural and the man-made have fused: so perfect is Czupryn’s depiction that the material seems more like a plastic imitation of wood, than actual trees.
So far this is the artist’s only monochromatic artwork, notable for its bold restraint. In this, the painting is strikingly different from the works for which it might be considered a prototype, rotten_ronny and lost_whukash (both 2015), which are composed of a much greater variety of mimetically painted materials.
The figure is based on a young woman whom the artist saw waiting for a bus. With one prosthetic leg, and the other cut off at the knee, the woman leans on a wall with the aid of a crutch. Her physical state recalls Samuel Beckett’s Molloy, using the body to hint as he did at psychological abjection.