Artist: Kyle Kruse
Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
Title of piece: One Who Sees
Artist Conversation with Kyle Kruse
During the viewing of Thursday’s gallery I chose to interview and talk with the artist Kyle Kruse. Walking into the gallery and seeing Kyle’s work was something I would expect to see during a religious sacrifice in an old dark abandoned cathedral. Even though it seemed to be a darker piece the lighting in the room took away from that atmosphere. It could be do to the fact that Kyle used printmaking for his method instead of sculpting. The materials used for Kyle’s work was wood block with black ink and fabric sheets. For those of you who do not know what print making is, the definition of printmaking by Dictionary.com is: a technique of making, prints, especially as practiced in engraving, etching, dry point, wood cut or serigraphy.
To give you the image of Kyle’s work it consisted of 8-10 hanging fabric pieces, roughly 7 feet high and 4 feet wide, positioned in a circle. On each one of the cuts of fabric was Kyle’s printmaking design; a jester wearing an African Ram Mask with a Greek head wreath. These figures on fabric circled a sacrifice which was a woven basket containing wood shavings. The wood shavings came from the wood block that was used to create the design of the jesters. At the foot of each jester there was a pile of wood shavings, looking as if they had been taken from the sacrificial basket. Hovering above all of this was black string, patterned similarly to that of a spider web.
As I talked with Kyle after observing his work I wouldn’t be able to guess what religion or cult this would be associated with. But that is the point of Kyle’s work; he stated multiple times that he wanted to create a “mystical space”. At first I didn’t understand what this meant but after I looked up the definition it was clear to me. The definition of mystic is: involving or characterized by esoteric, otherworldly, or symbolic practices or content, as certain religious ceremonies and art; spiritual significance (Dictionary.com). One of the things that caught my eye was the string above all of the jesters. At first I though it was just there to hold the work up as it hung from the ceiling but as I looked closer the string was put into a pattern; as I explained earlier. One of the questions I had for Kyle was, “Is the string a part of the work?”, and Kyle’s response was, “Yes. The whole point is to create curiosity for the viewer to make them think what is that these masked individuals believed in”. Which relates to the whole idea of creating a mystical space.
Continuing the conversation with Kyle, he discussed that it is also a “theatrical setup”, as he stated in the one page summary that was next to his work. It is theatrical in the sense that the jesters and the viewers (students) are part of the audience, while those who are in the center of the circle become that of the actor. Those who choose to walk outside are making the decision to not be seen but yet view the ceremony because of the transparency of the fabric. For those who walk in the center became part of the sacrifice. From these two participating roles Kyle mentions, “It is the one who sees, and one who is seen”. This is what I think Kyle’s main point of his art is and the title itself is One Who Sees so this is what I see him trying to convey to the audience.
Kyle’s art can be interpreted a million different ways by other viewers but what I see is the relation to the social aspects of life and being judged and viewed by others, while we ourselves can also be the ones who judge. The translation with this to Kyle’s art is that we sometimes are at the center of the circle (woven basket/sacrifice) and are being viewed by all those around us (jesters/viewers outside the circle). As we are being viewed it is automatically instant for someone to form an opinion about us. Like the pile of wood shavings being at the foot of each jester, each person sees us differently forming their own opinion about us. However, we may not always be at the center of the circle. We may be the jesters or the audience and that is true because at one point or another we are being judged or we are sometimes judging others. I also can see that the mask can be substituted for all of the social media sites today and that a lot of the time this is where judging happens the most. The string above the circle is what connects us all to each other and the world around us. Therefore, being the one who is seen or the one who sees.