Artist: Kyle Kruse
Exhibition: Janus Maxim
Media: Film, Sculpture, Woodblock Carving
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
CSULB undergraduate, Kyle Kruse, is working toward his BFA degree in the school of Art’s Printmaking program. Printmaking has allowed him to express what he truly thinks unlike his original major in physics. He is currently on his final semester and plans to move to either the United Kingdom or New York soon after graduation.
Kyle’s exhibition, Janus Maxim, presents its viewers with a dimly lit environment as soon as they set foot in the room. The focus is first put on three side-by-side structures that showcase narrow, animal-like masks. Above each structure is their very own woodblock carving. On the opposite side of the room,directly across each set, there are three films playing simultaneously. Below the viewers’ feet and scattered throughout the room are pieces of small sediment and slightly moist dirt.
Janus Maxim was based off Greco-Roman teaching myths of Prometheus, Janus, and Sisyphus as represented in each set. Kyle’s purpose in putting forth these sets the way he did was to get the viewer to take the “role of onlooker.” Thus, his art is meant to be seen as the transition between idea and reality. In other words, to show how stories are a transfer of personal interpretation, in which they are constantly changing based on the way we perceive them.
Knowing the extensive amount of research and time that went into making Kyle’s exhibition come to life really gives me a deeper appreciation for it. Every single piece was so carefully thought out and it amazes me how even the positioning of the screens across each structure is so perfectly aligned to make the viewer feel like each set can stand on its own. With that said, it felt to me as if I had entered not one but three similar yet uniquely different spaces. Kyle had mentioned how he wanted to unconsciously activate the viewers’ animal brain and I don’t know exactly if he fulfilled that, but I definitely felt more and more uneasy the longer I stayed in there.