Coastal catch

LAWRENCE PAUL YUXWELUPTUN at Mercer Union (37 Lisgar) tonight (Thursday, December 6), opening 8 pm, with an artist's talk.


LAWRENCE PAUL YUXWELUPTUN at Mercer Union (37 Lisgar) tonight (Thursday, December 6), opening 8 pm, with an artist’s talk 7 pm, to January 26. 416-536-1519. Rating: NNNNN


lawrence paul yuxweluptun likes to push buttons. The Dali-inspired (think melting clocks) renderings of northwest coastal totemic figures that first made his rep in the early 90s revelled in art school clichés.

But even serious snobs had to take Yuxweluptun’s work seriously — the distorted, dripping ravens were just too perfect a metaphor for the environmental damage the Emily Carr College-trained Coast Salish painter wanted to depict.

Yuxweluptun has been refining his artistic idiom ever since. Most recently, he has been transforming the abstract ovoids that are traditional northwest coastal imagery into colour field compositions that fit right into the new millennium’s revived appetite for smart abstraction.

Winnipeg’s Plug In Gallery, where NOW first saw the Vancouver-based painter’s Colour Zone show, has been touring it the since February. Yuxweluptun’s Surrealist totem figures — now simple black-and-white etchings — are still there, and they’ve never packed more power.

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