In 1965, the acclaimed philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt penned the title question “Is America By Nature A Violent Society?” The New York Times article nearing sixty years old, reads as if it was ripped from current headlines. American society is founded on the paradox of lawful lawlessness, which accounts for our triumphs and tribulations of assimilation, alienation, and tolerating, until recently, a considerable amount of mutual discrimination in society. This work titled Fracture, is not a mirror of this condition, but like much of Kyle’s work, a call. To what? An act or action that is openly unclear, and like the leather formed drapery itself, stoically heavy and precariously authoritative. The font belongs to a typeface beloved in historic Germany as Fraktur, before it became tainted through associations with Nazism. Naively so, it stands as the symbol for modern fascists and racists contrary to the fact that Hitler himself hated it and decreed the font be expunged from German publications in lieu of more modern and future thinking typography, less laden with bygone times. History is complicated and as we work ourselves into a lather to displace it, we’re reminded there is rarely one singular truth.
etched leather, vinyl, steel
Kyle Patnaude is based in Portland, Maine as an Assistant Professor at Maine College of Art. He completed his BFA in Sculpture from Pratt in 2006 and a MFA in Metalsmithing from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2012.
A mid-thirties gay man who grew up in a leather clad Harley Davidson biker family during the 1990’s culture wars, Patnaude has extended much of his life in attempts to empathize with those who hate and would wish him harm if it were not for some social or familial bond. Men protecting their masculinity in ways they saw fit, yet were counter to his own sense of masculinity. Patnaude’s work examines queer tribalism through precarious paradigms of austerely abject, archival, and mimetic objects.
Image credit: Carolyn Wachniki