AIR Reflections: Kyle James Dunn

Kyle is from Livonia, MI, and graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012 with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, as a technician at a sculpture studio while also pursuing his own work.

Kyle is a dedicated and hardworking artist. His drive was an inspiration to the other artists at Byrdcliffe. Aside from being an amazing sculptor, we’ve noticed that Kyle is an excellent ping pong player and has good taste in shoes. You can see all of Kyle’s work on his website: http://www.kylejamesdunn.com

What have you been working on at Byrdcliffe?

In my studio practice at Byrdcliffe, I have been exploring ideas of luck or fate that often play into gay social and/or sexual encounters. These works stem from both personal narrative and my own understanding of gay culture and life. The idea of chance is referenced thematically through symbols of good fortune (money cat, clover, etc) and physically through contrasting areas of tightly controlled form and areas of chaos. I am interested in artifice and how three-dimensional form can be implied, augmented, or confused through surface quality, pattern, and color.

How did you discover the residency program at Byrdcliffe?

I received an invitation to attend Byrdcliffe through the generosity of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, as the last residency I attended, in Manhattan’s Financial District, was flooded in Hurricane Sandy. I had several pieces that were damaged in the flood, and while at Byrdcliffe my goal was to finally complete these specific sculptures, while fleshing out the larger body of work to which they belong.

Can you describe your experience at Byrdcliffe with any particular moments of inspiration for you work?

My stay here has been profound–I have never had so much time to dedicate to my work, be it physically working on the pieces or mentally turning them over in my mind. It is a luxury that I am rarely afforded living in the city. More than a specific moment of inspiration, I have really enjoyed the time and space it’s allowed me, and an opportunity to just spread myself out and work without sweating the details of my usual routine.

Do you make art purely for aesthetic purposes or do you create art to make a statement?

I think aesthetics and meaning are never really separate. Styles and forms associated with a particular aesthetic are always burdened with meaning, be it cultural, age-related, or socioeconomic…whether you intend to discuss it or not. For example, Tumblr and net art speak very openly to my generation’s image saturation and appetite for all kinds of visual distraction (be it lifestyle fashions, 90s nostalgia, etc). While that has certain aesthetic signifiers, it also signifies a specific type of consumer. The two can’t be separated.

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