ARTIST STATEMENT, GREG PYRA
In the absence of light, the familiar urban environment becomes disorienting, unsettling, and perhaps even alienating. Night creates displacement, and it is this experience of displacement which I feel in my night explorations. In deserted streets and parking lots, the white hot light of street lamps and moving cars become the new markers of orientation. The separation of earth and sky is dissolved; artificial light is the compass that guides me in silent walks through streets, parking lots, and alleys.
My interest in representations of night also has a spiritual component. When there is less awareness of the physical world, one is able to better focus on the inner self. The night sky becomes a metaphor for openness and unexplored possibilities. The spiritual self is unfettered by the physical world; therefore, night becomes an open door to the possibilities of the spiritual life. In darkness, our physical bodies may not even be visible. If sensory experiences become severely restricted, then the inner life comes into view. An emphasis on light on my paintings is a way of loosening the viewer’s hold on a physical or sensory-based reality.
This series of night paintings also revisits an exploration of the element of black. When black assertively emerges in my paintings, I know that it is my attempt to break with past artistic endeavours, both personal and historic. Black becomes a metaphor for an empty space, a "void", which need refilling. The night paintings represent a turn in the artistic journey; how can I challenge myself with a new venture? The answer, so far, has led to experimentations with the interactions of light and darkness, and the presence of a spiritual life in the absence of a physical world.
"Painting is a life long passion that continues into the present. As a young man, I eagerly sought out professional training in Canadian universities and furthered that training with a three-year stay in Germany.
Now that I am a teacher, I continue my passion for creative endeavors with my students.
The Canadian prairies dotted with urban centers have been my primary inspiration for my most recent series of paintings. Night alters the experience of our environment and it is these experiences that have challenged me most."