David Czupryn’s Trim a Tree is a painting of juxtapositions and linkages. In this work, foreground meets background, heaviness meets buoyancy, nature meets culture, and subject meets object.
The central structure is evidently a tree, but it is certainly not ‘organic’ in the usual sense. It appears to be composed, for the most part, out of marble which, although naturally occurring, must be sculpted into shape. The anomalous blueish branch resembles glass, a highly cultivated material made from molten sand.
A collection of objects hang to the right of the tree: tangled wires, a coat-hanger, wooden poles, a piece of rope. These mingle with the fragments attached to the black, stone backdrop: strips of tape, splattered paint, a Thomas Schütte self-portrait. Although this latter group of items must rationally be ‘behind’,they appear to occupy the same depth as the hanging objects. Together, all the fragments form a human figure: a face at the top, followed by neck, shoulders, ribs, arms, pelvis, legs, and feet.
Meanwhile, on the left-hand side, a balloon (designed by Xanti Schawinski) floats upwards. Tethered to the tree, it counteracts the gravitational pull acting on the hanging man.
As a result of all these coalescing opposites, Trim a Tree is both harmonious and deeply unsettling. The painting lingers in that uncanny space between the familiar, and the troublingly alien.