An interview with Kyle Bryant, woodcutter

Weighty carvings

BEARING THE BURDEN “A Long Break From Love,” 81” x 51”, woodcut by Kyle Bryant, 2011.
When he's not rapping at the Big Easy, debating mayoral candidates about the value of street art, or working as a counselor with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Kyle Bryant is a printmaker with Pickwick Independent Press. His forthcoming exhibition at A Fine Thing: Edward T. Pollack Fine Arts collects his busy, detailed woodcuts in small and enormous frames, and shows Bryant branching out into more colorful — and personal — terrain. We caught up with him to ask what the map looks like.

THE SHOW'S TITLE, "THE THINGS WE CARRY," FEELS LIKE A NOD TO THE LARGE PRINT YOU HAD IN LAST FALL'S BLOCK PARTY STEAMROLLER SHOW, WHERE A DONKEY WAS BURDENED BY A COLLAGE OF COLLAPSING URBAN IMAGES ("A LONG BREAK FROM LOVE"). IS THAT ACCURATE? The title refers to the entire theme of the show, though (it) was very influenced by the cargo on the donkey. Throughout the show things are being carried (boxes, furniture, cities, etc.) and there's a lot of meaning in everything that is being transported by the carrier. The donkey print represents my inability to separate myself from where I'm living and the people I surround myself with. When I live in a place I tend to carry that place with me. I am a very extended-family type of person; when I bring a friend into the fold I remain loyal to that friend, so when I carry a city with me it's both place and people that are represented by that city. The title of the show represents what we go through as people and the things that we remember or can't forget, and the goals that we are pursuing in our lives.

YOU'VE SAID A LOT OF YOUR WORK IS PRETTY PERSONAL, AND YET A LOT OF THE IMAGERY THAT APPEAR IN YOUR PRINTS ARE SCENES TAKEN FROM PUBLIC LIFE. BUILDINGS, STAIRWAYS, RAILROAD TRACKS, OFTEN SPECIFIC ONES FROM CITIES YOU'VE LIVED IN. CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT INTERESTS YOU ABOUT THESE SCENES? What interests me about the elements of city life that I incorporate into my work is my relationship with that certain part of the city and how I remember it. I'm just as interested in what that place represents to the people who recognize the places in my work as what those places represent to me. I use a lot of symbolism in the architecture I choose and that factors a lot into the mood of each piece. I use arches and stairways as metaphors for other realities or perspectives, fences for confinement, and water for transience. Grass represents trying to stay put and establish meaningful relationships with others. What these symbols mean to me when combined with the very autobiographical subject matters that I draw is where the work becomes personal. I use my work to visually depict my understanding of the world.

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Design, Kyle Bryant, big easy,  More more >
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