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Capturing Souls: Kyle Montgomery

Kyle Montgomery has absolutely no artistic training, which makes his mixed media works all the more marvellous. With religious iconography being a theme throughout his art, he sources kitsch paintings and paraphernalia from charity stores and then subverts their righteous intentions by superimposing disparate images of guns, solar space and scientific-like diagrams onto them. His works probably offend adherents of Catholicism or Christianity, but they just have the Sydney art scene excited.

Kyle’s DIY approach to art practice translates into his discussion, as he explains, in layman terms, that he is attracted to “anything that I think looks good, like old books and found objects,” and takes inspiration from kaleidoscopes and vintage illustrations. Although it may appear that the artist’s sole priority is aesthetic appeal, beneath his works is an acerbic critique of religion: definitely not what the little old lady behind the counter at Salvos had in mind when he purchased the scene of The Last Supper or the porcelain Virgin Mary figurine.

When asked what the most rewarding thing is about creating art, Kyle answers by saying “it is a distraction to the one question that is always on our mind: why are we here?” By appropriating religious imagery and incorporating it so deeply into his practice, it seems he may be using art as a way to grapple with that very uncertainty. Does he have an answer yet? No. However, one can ascertain that he is an atheist at heart.

“I think religion is a big cult, but also one of the most genius things man has ever created to keep everyday people in line,” he says, adding sarcastically that the only way he would ever ascribe to religion is if David Attenborough created one. His cynicism towards creed is once again evident when he talks about the title of his website, Collected Souls. Explaining that it used to be a photo blog where he was playing on the idea of a soul being captured on film, he says the title “still makes sense to me, with Jesus and his friends being involved with my art, because they also steal souls.”

Besides filling in his spare time by “smoking, drinking coffee, watching documentaries and skating,” Kyle is also heavily involved with the China Heights gallery, living and working in the space. He has also started a side-project of creating handmade leather wallets, and even works for Chronicles of Never and assists a variety of photographers, despite joking that “everyone is a photographer now, so does that even count?”

For someone who has never been to art school, Kyle proves that true talent takes precedence over academia; his works having been shown at China Heights, aMBUSH Gallery, East Sydney Doctors, The Opening Hours and Palmer Projects. His aspirations for the future are simple, saying succinctly, “I want to continue making things I like…. I’m currently working on a new concept and hope to exhibit these works when they are ready.”

Kyle Montgomery

words: Ingrid Kesa


May 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM Anonymous said...

May 6, 2010 at 1:29 PM Anonymous said...

So what? Kyle's work is very different to this.

May 8, 2010 at 9:37 AM Anonymous said...

Woah, someone used religious themes and collage before Montgomery? Never! ha.

The above is correct. Like the part where he uses mapping and anatomy to fill the perforations, rather than only space related images. Or the part where Montgomery's stuff rips over Mir's.

No one ever questioned Kill Pixie for his obvious influences.

"good artists copy, great artists steal" ?

May 29, 2010 at 10:33 PM Anonymous said...

Only god can be original. But god does not exist

January 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM Anonymous said...

I think im gay. But after reading about montgomery i believe i may be straight. I am a man. Help.

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