Kyle Meyer pairs digital photography with traditional Swazi crafts to portray the oppressed LGBT community in Eswatini.
Kyle Meyer has worked between Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and New York City since 2009, creating richly tactile artworks as conceptually layered and complicated as they are visually lush and intricate. In this debut monograph, Meyer’s portraits from his Interwoven series reflect an interest in infusing digital photography with traditional Swazi crafts and in giving voice to silenced members of the LGBTQ community, who are marginalized in eSwatini. Tension between the necessity of the individuals to hide their queerness for basic survival and their desire to express themselves openly inform both the subject and the means of fabricating Meyer’s unique works.
Each piece from the Interwoven series is labor-intensive, taking days or sometimes weeks to complete. Meyer often photographs his subjects wearing a traditional head wrap made from a vibrantly colored textile. He then produces a large-scale print of the portrait and hand-shreds the photograph, together with the fabric from the head wrap, weaving the strips into a complexly patterned, three-dimensional work. With the final portrait, Meyer presents each person’s individuality and beauty while using the fabric as a screen to protect their identity. With a foreword by Todd J. Tubutis, Director, Art Museum of West Virginia University, and an interview with Andy Campbell, Assistant Professor of Critical Studies, University of Southern California.
Over the past several years, Kyle Meyer’s artistic process has been centered around a single question: how can a digital image serve any human connection when it is entirely produced—and ubiquitously reproduced—by mechanical means (camera, computer, printer). This has led to extensive research and apprenticeship with handicraft artisans, exploring the tactile potential of photography. Throughout each successive body of work Meyer creates, traces of the handmade are present, be it weaving, hand-dying, or layering—all which add a form of texture, dimension, and ultimately additional meaning to his work. By weaving together photographic and sculptural elements, Meyer’s artwork metaphorically speaks to the human condition of seclusion, oppression, memory, and loss.
Kyle Meyer : Interwoven
From Radius Books
Co-published with Yossi Milo
Hardcover / 11 x 12.75 inches / 80 images / 192 pages
ISBN: 9781942185680 / Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Trade: $65 Signed: $70