Folks planning to visit the Art Gallery of Swift Current over the next month can expect the unexpected, with the new exhibition beginning on Saturday.  

Titled I. They. Mine. Yours..., the show features a unique range of sculptures, self-portraits, and even a movie. 

Lyle XOX is a mixed media artist born and raised in Wymark, Saskatchewan, coming back to reclaim his roots after a long twenty-two years living out west. 

“I worked as a makeup artist for 17 years, and then near the end of that, the transition gradually took place in terms of my artistic practice,” he said. “And now for the last, close to eight years my full-time focus and career is a visual artist.” 

Originally, he went to makeup school and planned to work in the film world creating prosthetics, but after jumping into the field it didn’t take long for him to realize it wasn’t his passion. 

Lyle XOX’s self-portraits feature masks sculpted explicitly from found or recycled objects that he collects by way of friends and family, and now by mail from strangers from around the world. 

“What I find fascinating is that the people that send work from all over, it's now kind of creating this form of a community or this pseudo community within my practice,” he expressed. “When they see a final piece, they know that they've had some kind of hand in the making of it because some of the found objects actually came from wherever they are; it really is bringing people together.” 

Inspiration for each piece comes directly from the objects he’s gathered; after spending time with them, living, regrouping, repositioning, something eventually will click and the art takes motion. 

Lyle XOX explained his process as an often out-of-body experience, where his hands and creativity take over.  

“I like that unknown, that mystery aspect to the work that keeps it fresh every time,” he said. “If art ever becomes too much of a process or a procedure, it just doesn't resonate the same way.” 

He added that his hope for folks that experience his art is to take a pause and reflect on what they see, reassessing their own life and what the objects might mean to them, with the hope that something resonates with everyone who stops in.  

“I think it's good for people to come into a gallery and step out of their comfort zone and view work that they haven't seen before,” Lyle XOX expressed. “To have their buttons pushed and to be able to think outside of their box and enter into a world that's very dissimilar from their own.” 

Returning to his roots and origins is an experience that he categorized as both beautiful and emotional, with a homecoming taking place; being able to see his parents again while thinking about his beginnings as an artist. 

An opening reception will be held on September 30, when Lyle XOX will return to Swift Current for a public talk and to meet folks in the community, something he’s excited about.  

The exhibition is available for viewing as of this Saturday, with a special sculpture made on-site exclusively for this showing that he described as the DNA of his artistic practice.