Saturday, September 27, 2014

Escape at the UNO Gallery

Kyle Bravo: Drawing on the Wall, the latest exhibition at the UNO Lakefront Campus Gallery, starts with a site specific work, a giant self-portrait, iconic for the artist who has livened up diverse spaces in New Orleans in the past, most recently The Front in the Saint-Claude Art District. Three massive white pedestals or separation boxes become a background for the cartoonish personage outlined in black, dressed in blue pants, loose T-shirt and wearing tennis shoes. Childish, "cool", he brings us on another adventure. This time, the playful hero takes a big jump, floating in space, disappears, sucked into another dimension. The last panel is white, empty. The rest of the story is on the other side where we can see him fall, head first, like a modern Icarus without wings, his  escape thwarted by... the laws of gravity.
Further, Kyle Bravo depicts landscapes of lines arranged in plaid like motives, in secondary warm yellowish colors or primary red and blue. The works are flat, without visual effects unlike Op art, but create an overwhelming, suffocating illusion of confinement. The obsessive pieces provide no way out, and the eyes cannot find a focal point to rest on.  One can take a step back and look at it as a plaid version of works from the Pattern and Decoration movement well represented in New Orleans by Robert Gordy.
Two portraits complete the exhibition, digitized drawings rendered in a larger scale, the male and female sitting on opposite side of a skiff surround the viewer who becomes the subject they are both drawing....unless they are drawing each other.
The piece again conveys a sense of confinement and could refer to the inescapability of life or loneliness, the personage appear so close in the same boat, but so distant with their lowered gaze.
The exhibition which appears lighthearted at first gains in depth as it progresses, bringing a thread to a conversation which includes also time. The drawings on the wall will disappear covered with white paint at the end of the show.
"A drawing is simply a line going for a walk." said Paul Klee...
and more adventures with Kyle Bravo.

photographs by the author

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey, I wanted to mention that the canoe piece was a collaboration with Jenny LeBlanc. She drew me and I drew her. Thanks! -Kyle