YEAR 1 Artist Focus: Kyle Riedel

20 Oct

In the weeks leading up to our first annual survey exhibition, 5790projects will feature one artist per week until the opening reception for “YEAR 1” at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock on Sunday, November 8 (6:30-8:30pm).

This week’s focus is on artist, Kyle Riedel.

Kyle has long been fascinated by the photographic image and its ability to translate a specter of one space and time into another, something he considers both horrific and captivating. Like the tricks of a magician there is something compelling about their deceit. Yet photography, the most successful of mediums, presents us an illusion so precise that we are vulnerable to simply consume it whole. Without acknowledgment of the deceit, pictures simply masquerade as the real. Distorting our relationship to it. Photographs, while always compelling, are not so interesting taken at face value. Riedel is more more intrigued by their dangerous magic. Much of his output has been aimed at working the gap between their truth and their trickery.

For “YEAR 1,” Kyle is presenting pieces from two bodies of work: Mountain : Color and Image Traps. The origins of Mountain : Color come from Riedel’s time spent in the Eastern Sierras. It addresses his desire and struggle to communicate and connect with the mountains around him. Riedel first photographs particular locations — in this case, Mount San Jacinto and Cottonwood Basin — using specific photographic color gel filters such as Italian Blue, or Minus Green to modify the light. The images are then printed on double-sided paper, wrinkled and re-assembled in their triangular form in the studio, before being re-photographed for the final print. While the works in this series tease us with various photographic detail, they resist being read as pictures. The photographs here are not windows into the world, they do not obey photographic perspective and they acknowledge rather than hide their abstract nature. The resulting images become unhinged from their initial photographic specificity and exist in their own present-moment, more like a sculpture than a picture. In Image Traps, Reidel draws from his time spent in the Mojave desert, ruminating on the animal tracks that mark the sparse alluvial fans and playas, imagining the tracking and trapping methods of the Native Americans who once inhabited the land. The word “capture” is meditated upon here as a connection between photography and these directly experiential techniques. These are photographs of functioning animal traps that Riedel constructed. They are produced in either wilderness or studio locations, or a combination of both. This is a mix of location and dislocation. Some of the images employ frottage or graphite rubbing, which is drawing’s distant cousin to photographic detail. All of them make liberal use of paper white, the material from which images are grasped. These images, while deceitful and seductive in their own way, wear it thinly veiled. They announce their deception and deny their own veracity but in their failure to resolve they may point us to something more honest.

Kyle Riedel received his MFA in Transmedia, a conceptual study of media, and technology from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently he is a Professor at California State University Long Beach in the Photography program. Kyle works in a variety of media often dealing with the relationship between cultures of representation, technology, and the landscape. He has participated in residencies at the The Banff Centre, Canada, and Nida Art Colony, Lithuania among others. His work has been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally including a solo exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne Australia. Kyle Riedel lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Riedel Trap 2

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