In his newest exhibition showing at the PPOW Gallery, Brooklyn based artist Kyle Dunn captures moments of quiet and sublime intimacy between men. Dunn’s work deals with the nuances and complexities of masculinity and its performance within his viscerally queer landscape. He cites a variety of influences from the Art Nouveau posters of French diva Sarah Bernhardt to the vibrant technicolor of 1960s Italian sex comedies.
Dunn doesn’t shy away from creating personal work, often using his own life experiences as fodder. These disparate sources are beautifully distilled into acrylic on wood panels. In a world that capitalizes off the aesthetics and cooptation of Queer aesthetics, Night Pictures captures its subjects without flourish or armor.
The exhibition is on display at the PPOW Gallery in Tribeca until May 13, 2023.
With Night Pictures Dunn set out to capture the unsettling sense of stillness and impending chaos that can come with nightfall. He affectionately situates all his subjects in the nighttime by showcasing his mastery of space by collapsing the studio, home and city into a singular set where life’s joys and grievances play out seductively. He mentions that “the emotions associated with the nighttime setting [serve] as a kind of narrative connecting tissue." He delights in showing the absurdity and performance ingrained in courtship and dating within our contemporary queer community illuminating moments we are all familiar with.
In “The Hunt” (see above), he paints the fixings of a night out: makeup, perfume, a drink and a wardrobe to die for. Dunn describes the show as “an interior show but not necessarily a quiet one." He takes us through the mundanity of his protagonist’s life with great care and detail. We are with him as he relishes in his image across a mirror. We lie in comfort with him aside a lover. We watch him in the throes of artistic practice, hand against the canvas. The men featured in Night Pictures are proudly depicted in their nakedness. As an audience we are encouraged to relish in this moment and savor the access given to us. Dunn implores us to stare as it’s naturally hard to look away.
His work has been exhibited in spaces around the world including PPOW Gallery, Marlborough Gallery, Grimm, Maria Bernheim and others. His latest solo exhibition was “The Fool” at Galerie Maria Bernheim in Zurich. View Night Pictures before it goes.