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Pull the Plug runs until Dec. 12 at Art is Vital Gallery.
Kara Martens

Reinhard Skoracki: intense and provocative

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Purely inspirational, intensely provocative, tremendously political and absolutely beautiful--those are the only words to describe both Reinhard Skoracki and his art.

Storacki's latest exhibit, Pull the Plug--The Water is Boiling, works with bronze, steel and wood mediums--those being classic elements for him. His philosophy of art is one of sorrow and hope. Skoracki believes we are all pawns in a game controlled by higher powers--the highest being money. He insists we will never reach our dreams unless we break away from society and return to a simpler life that values respect.

There is hope that someday we will achieve this, and live in a virtuous world and this philosophy is present in each work of art. For Skoracki, hope comes in the form of humour. For without this, we are left at the mercy of those factors that control the world.

His most shocking and humorous piece in the collection is "Follow the Instructions (Wash Inside Out)." This piece consists of a man hung to dry on a clothesline At first, it evokes laughter out of pure silliness, but the underlying message screams for attention. This man represents each person in society. The piece conveys the notion that we have all been brainwashed into following instructions that it's time we wash ourselves inside out, and discover who we really are. Skoracki feels it's time we return to our own thoughts and do away with the restrictions society places on us. One cannot help but sympathize with the poor soul hung out to dry, there is no escaping the need for change.

Another intense piece, "Life," is simple, yet immensely symbolic. It features a cute, curly-haired baby sliding down a stick. At first, this piece also seems lighthearted, but the deeper meaning is one of self-pity. The baby represents each of us born at the top, but as life continues, society pushes us down. Hope of regaining our values comes in the delightful expression on the baby's face.

The majority of Skoracki's art places the image of a man at the center, except for one incredible piece. It consists of two, happily-plump, blindfolded women dancing arm-in-arm. To Skoracki, the blindfolds represent the vulnerability of women while the dancing represents their strength. According to Skoracki, women are the stronger sex and they will continue dancing, even after man has fallen. Perhaps, this is an attempt at breaking the norms that society has placed on women.

There are many intense pieces in Skoracki's collection and each one of them deserves attention. Each piece begs for change and for us to have the courage to initiate this change. One cannot help but walk away with a sense of pity. However, Skoracki's hopeful spirit is present in each piece and this hope walks away with us. Skoracki is an artist that will make Calgary proud and will hopefully provoke thought in those who admire his art. Pull The Plug The Water is Boiling runs to Dec. 12 at Art is Vital Gallery.

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