Artist Talk & Reception: Kyla Kegler
FORT explores my memories of searching for the coziness of small spaces and minimalistic spaces, and the sense of being grounded by physical mass. I think of these spaces and sensations as portals.
I center my work around the exploration of feeling with particular attention to the seductive inertia of not feeling. I see feeling as a radical act of resisting apathy and finding satisfaction. I work with scale; and physical and conceptual relationships to gravity, weight, heaviness, and compression.
I'm inspired by feelings I sought out as a child in moments like: playing "orphans lost in the woods" with my sisters in the dug out snow igloo in the backyard; curling up in the blanket-fort under the dining room table; feeling the compression and weight of a medical device taking my blood-pressure; the weight of the lead x-ray vest; asking my parents to sit on my lap; good hugs. I'm attracted to these feelings that bring me in close proximity to edges; that humble and comfort me through relationship to and awareness of my greater surroundings; that transcend my bodily experience by affirming it.
FORT works with scale and gravity. Scale: when I am in a small space, I become aware of my mass in proximity to the architecture around me. Gravity: the paradox that by adding physical weight to my body in the form of compression therapy I actually relieve emotional weight; that experiencing the physical effects of gravity (weight on my body makes me aware that I have mass, edges and space) relates to a conceptual notion of gravity (I have impact; significance; consequence; implication...). In other words, exploring the ways in which we are simply bodies —with mass and volume and thus experiencing the pull of other bodies such as the earth and thus gravity —is, surprisingly, also a way to trigger an awareness of the ways in which we transcend our bodily form.
Bio: Kyla Kegler (b. 1985) is an artist and teacher. She paints and sews, makes videos, audio guides, performances, manuals, therapeutic furniture and environments that invite playful participation. Kegler has exhibited and performed extensively in Berlin, Buffalo, and NYC. She received her MFA in visual art on full fellowship at the University at Buffalo in 2018. She received her MA in Solo / Dance/ Authorship at the Art University of Berlin in 2015. In 2004 she began her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on full scholarship and completed it at The Art Academy of Weissensee in Berlin Germany in 2010. In 2006 she Apprenticed at the Bread and Puppet farm, which heavily influenced the medium and principle of her early work. Kegler lived in Berlin between 2009-2016, and there co-founded an experimental theater club, Zuhause, in 2010. In 2013, she received two NYSCA grants for community puppet theater on the West Side of Buffalo, NY.