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Artist ID: 2326

“Manly men are given to passing adverse judgment, and not only on women but also on other males who do not meet their exacting standards.”—Harvey Mansfield, Manliness
Who determined the characteristics and codes of behavior that would make one a perfect man? Is this dynamic being enforced due to a collective pressure to conform to this model of masculinity? Why are men marginalized for something as innately human as expressing their emotions? More specifically, how did this prototype come about in the American South and how long has it been an established part of Southern society? Through my studio practice, I am pursuing answers to these questions by researching the precedents to contemporary Southern masculinity, gaining an understanding of the social workings of masculinity through theoretical frameworks, learning how my relationship to the South has shaped my identity, and attempting to subvert the existence of a dominant form of masculinity in the South while commemorating other forms of manliness. Drawing on Harvey Mansfield’s concept involving a hierarchical social structure in which an ideal, dominant man exists and to which women and other masculinities are subordinate, I make work that explores what I would call hegemonic masculinity.

Through my experience growing up in the South, I began to notice and fall victim to Southern masculine culture which expects a man to be risk-taking and effortlessly exhibit strength, pride, self-confidence, and superiority. Men are pressured to assimilate into this culture not only through standardizing their physical appearance, demeanor, and behavior, but also through sharing common interests in hobbies such as hunting or fishing. Judgment is the consequence of opposing this prototype in favor of one’s individuality.

My visual language and carefully chosen materials—animal hides, tree branches, raw plywood—reference the act of hunting, at times positing the viewer as the Southern male archetype and at other times as observer. In my more recent work, the protagonist has been omitted from my images to make the landscape, or place, the force that haunts and shapes the viewer, just as it does me. The landscapes are often depicted at night and the fearful journey through them is the rite of passage to overcome in order to be reborn as a man. To narrate the pieces is a liminal process as well. Through my own virtual hunting practice, I observe and gather text within the confines of online hunting forums with topics often clustered under rubrics such as “Do you ever get afraid in the woods?” The text comprises confessions of fear and public admittance of weakness (e.g. “I don’t care for walking to my stand in the dark. I feel safe usually once I reach my stand and am off the ground.”) The result is that my virtual self emerges along with these other anonymous men, with whom I sympathize, as an aggregate, ambiguous identity.

Kyle Holland is a visual artist who was born and raised in Memphis, TN where he earned his BFA in fine arts with a concentration in printmaking from Memphis College of Art in 2012. He received his MFA in book arts and printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA in 2019.

His work was most recently exhibited in Psych Land, a three-person exhibition at FAR Contemporary Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, FL (2019) that traveled to The Hall Gallery in the Windgate Visual Arts Center at Millsaps College, Jackson, MS (2020). His work is held in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nevada Museum of Art, The Center for Book Arts, Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, and UC Berkeley among others.

Notable group exhibitions include Masters of the Contemporary Print, Towson University, Towson, MD (2017); More Than Surface: Contemporary Prints on Handmade Paper, Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, Atlanta, GA (2017); Confluence: Twelve Collaborations, Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory & Educational Foundation, Cleveland, OH (2016); Then & Now: Ten Years of Residencies at the Center for Book Arts, The Center for Book Arts, New York, NY and Castle Gallery at The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY (2015); No Man is an Island: The Masculine Landscape in the 21st Century, Printmaking Center of New Jersey, Branchburg, NJ (2013); and Fifth International Artists' Book Exhibition, King St. Stephen Museum, Székesfehérvár, Hungary (2013).

Holland has been an artist in residence under the Scholarship for Advanced Studies in Book Arts program at The Center for Book Arts (2012) and his work has been featured in portfolios including Negative Space in Handmade Paper: Picturing the Void, published by Hand Papermaking (2014); Surface Tension: The Barren, the Despondent and the Void, a portfolio organized and curated for the 2018 SGC International conference; and Extra Pulp, a portfolio, organized by IS Projects, of handmade paper works by papermakers who utilize paper as its own form of expression (2019).

Holland is currently an instructor and studio manager for the MFA book arts program at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL. He has also been adjunct faculty at Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH; a lecturer at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and an instructor at the 2019 Wells Book Arts Summer Institute at Wells College, Aurora, NY. Among his experience teaching workshops at various institutions and organizations, he was an instructor at Dieu Donné papermill in New York, NY from 2014–15 where he taught classes on contemporary papermaking.

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