January 12 – February 28, 2021
Venue: High Line Nine, 507 W. 27th Street New York, NY 10001
Yossi Milo Gallery and High Line Nine are pleased to present Unidentified, a solo exhibition of new work by American artist Kyle Meyer from his Interwoven series, made from photographic prints and fabric. The show will open to the public on Tuesday, January 12 and will be on view through February 28, 2021.
Kyle Meyer has worked between eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) and New York since 2009 on his Interwoven project, creating richly tactile artworks as conceptually layered as they are visually lush and intricate. His works, characterized by infusing photo-based portraiture with traditional Swazi crafts, give voice to silenced members of eSwatini’s underground LGBTQ community. 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 artworks.
Meyer first photographs his predominantly male subjects wearing head wraps, traditionally worn only by women, which he hand-makes in his studio by tying, knotting, and twisting African wax print fabrics in colors and patterns selected by each sitter. He then creates a large-scale print of each portrait, hand-shreds the photograph and the head wrap, and weaves the strips together to make a textured, complexly patterned, three-dimensional work. With the final portrait, Meyer presents each man’s individuality and queerness while using the fabric as a screen to safeguard their anonymity.
The exhibition will premiere Meyer’s series of Interwoven Polaroids, which he hand-embroiders with strings from the wax print fabric head wraps worn by each sitter. As a draftsman might use a pencil, Meyer first traces the outline of the human form with colored thread sewn into the prints. Deconstructed patterns found on each headwrap are then mapped around the figures, and their faces are woven to mimic the larger artworks and conceal their identities. Also premiered will be Unidentified Collective 1, 2020, assembled from ninety-one individual portraits sewn together into a grid, unveiling the hidden strength and resiliency of eSwatini’s LGBTQ groups.
Works by Meyer are represented in the permanent collections of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France; and Swaziland National Museum, Lobamba, Swaziland, among others. His Interwoven project premiered in 2018 at Yossi Milo Gallery, New York. His debut monograph, Interwoven, was co-published in 2020 by Radius Books/Yossi Milo. Meyer was born in Ashland, Ohio in 1985 and earned his MFA in 2016 from Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Image: Unidentified 166a, 2020. Archival Pigment Print Hand Woven with Wax Print Fabric. Approximately 54” x 36”.