Kyle Williams

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Artist Statement

WATCHING JACQUES TATI APPROACH SOME PIECE OF FURNITURE

When M. Hulot looks out over a vast office of cubicles In Jacques Tati’s Playtime, he encounters its objects, architecture and inhabitants with a kind of unknowing. Objects behave slightly like people and people slightly like objects. The unknowning of Hulot’s encounter with his environment is echoed by the viewer’s encounter with the strange presence of its image. As I watch the screen, I can see that one of the many extras playing office workers, situated farthest from the camera, is actually a paper cutout of a person, not an actor.

AS HE STANDS UP ON THE RIVERBED, HE SCRATCHES HIS HEAD AND LOOKS AROUND WITHOUT YET REALIZING HE IS UNDERWATER

I’m interested in a specific type of presence that I see only with objects on screen: Objects that have a strangeness or an uncanny quality; a feeling that they have revealed themselves to be something other, or something in addition to what they are presented as. One can point to it in the films of Tati or of his predecessor Buster Keaton, where objects and bodies are nudged out of the logic of the world. They behave like something slightly different from themselves in a way that is both miraculous and utterly deadpan.

“I WANT TO BELIEVE”

When I realize that Tati’s office worker is a paper cutout, it ecstatically interrupts my spectating and I remember that every space and object in Tati’s Paris is a constructed movie set of unprecedented scale. The mise en scene is at once compelling and self-revealing, and as a viewer I become a spectator of my own suspension of disbelief, oscillating between an uncanny Paris and the labor involved in creating its affect. Viewing objects on a screen becomes entangled with the act of situating myself in terms of belief and desire.

IMAGE FROM THE CAMERA, OBJECT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA, OBJECT BEHIND THE CAMERA, ALGORITHM WITHIN THE CAMERA, CAMERA, ETC.

These objects with this remarkable screen presence are also objects in the world. The labor to make these images – to make these silent objects sing on screen – is accomplished by a constellation of other objects and technologies outside the image’s frame; they are the hidden labor of the image’s affect. In my own work, it is both this affect, and this constellation of objects, technology and labor that provide the framework for questions and experimentation.

FINESSE, CONTROL, AND EXPENDITURE FOR AN AFFECT THAT IS INDETERMINATE

The results of these experiments are videos and images that mix the nearly infinite possibilities of filmmaking and visualization technology with my own limitations with each of these technological objects. While I am inspired by the flawless illusions in movies, I want to prioritize exploration and experimentation above the execution of a specific meaning, narrative, or affect. If nothing else, I would like the work to give viewers time with objects that have been nudged out of their place in the world – out of their scientific or economic logic – as a kind of cinematic reimaging of the distance that exists between us and our things.

 

CV

EDUCATION

Yale University School of Art, M.F.A., 2015

Stanford University, B.A., 2004

Major: Art History, concentration in 20th Century American Art

Minor: Studio Art, concentration in Painting

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2015

Surface Support, Signal, New York, NY

Yale Painting and Printmaking Graduates 2015, Garis and Hahn, New York, NY

Realities in Contemporary Video Art, Foundation des Etats-Unis, Paris, France

PaMUR, Tirana Open 1, Tirana, Albania

Writing, T293, Naples, Italy

Yale Painting MFA Thesis Show, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT

Video Snack 4: VS, Regina Rex, New York, NY

Lux: Ideas Through Light, Beinecke Rare Books Library, New Haven, CT

2013

First Year MFA Show, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT

2011

Shadowshop, SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA

2006

Desastre, Mohr Gallery, Mountain View, CA

Holiday Land, Blankspace Gallery, Oakland, CA

666, Blankspace Gallery, Oakland, CA

2005

Better Than Real, MixedUse, San Francisco, CA

Fog Food, de Young Museum Off-Site Project Center, San Francisco, CA

RESIDENCIES AND AWARDS

2015 Ralph Mayer Prize, Yale School of Art

2012 Gullkistan Residency, Laugarvatn, Iceland

2004 Arthur Giese Memorial Award in Painting, Stanford University

TEACHING

2014 – 2015 Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT, Teaching Assistant, Digital Animation and Visual Thinking

2005 – 2013 Community School of Music and Art, Mountai, Art Instructor, Drawing, Painting, 2D-Design, and Advanced Projects