What he wants is to "Make good raucous art." It's an admirable goal that sounds simple and lighthearted yet Lyle Kissack informs his work with significant breath of knowledge and depth of emotion it because more than marks moving across a surface.
Kissack evokes a world in delicate balance created from opposing force, his "fragile peace." He uses a vertical format in our "horizontal world." Asked to explain this, he discusses geological strata, when it is exposed vertical layering indicates something traumatic and overwhelming has taken place. He establishes equilibrium in the work counterbalancing juxtaposed shapes and realities that float over color absorbing and synthesizing density and transparency.
Kissack's fluid and elegant line is the essential counterpoise to his imagery which is summoned from the fragility, absurdity, constraints--real or imagined--of contemporary life.
With the collective memory of coming of age in the latter part of the 20th century, Kissack takes this consciousness and turns it on its head literally and figuratively. Kissack wants his viewer to be challenged and "thrown off" but not uncomfortable with his choices. He is encouraging his viewer to sense rather than define relationships that are always in flux.
From the artist...
The term 'thin line,' as in '…a thin line between…' alludes to the idea that very little separates the relative positions of opposing forces. It posits the notion that a perceived difference might, in fact, be inconsequential, and that conflict might instead turn on a lack of understanding and appreciation of that which both sides hold in common. Though true, this is nonetheless absurd.
The difference between the intention to harm and the intention to heal is fairly profound, and to determine a commonality in the flesh involved is to participate in an exasperating mental endgame. And yet, we as a culture are asked to accept such contradictions, conflicts that exist in the space between oxymoron and paradox, on a daily basis. Example: an individual makes a decision to save money (good) by dumping excess mercury into the ocean (bad). We swallow absurd contradictions. We are expedient people. But what do we do with this information?
The Thin Line drawings are an attempt to employ the idea of conflict as an aesthetic device. I have given free reign to untenable solutions to compositional problems. The superimposed and inverted images are stand-ins for language differences, for torturous attempts at communication, for the inability to understand or accept the validity of disparate intellectual positions. I have separated the figure from any consideration of volume, reducing image to skeletal presence in order to present it naked and unadorned. I have replaced the negotiations of space and light with vertical bands of permeated color, unburdened of descriptive properties yet suggestive of atmosphere and feeling. The process allows for no erasure--the drawings either happened or they didn't.
The immediate effect is one of resolution, a lightness and simplicity in describing convoluted heaviness. (I found this impossible to achieve using thick oil paint and heavy stretchers.) I want the stripped-down presence of the ink drawing to suggest clarity even when the subject is confusion itself. I am after the visual equivalent of a negotiation between conflicting camps, of fluctuating understanding. In specifying a depiction of contradictory and absurd positions, I hope to infer resolution by engaging the disparate components of the drawing. In other words, the act of describing conflict in an ink drawing mirrors an attempt at solving the conflict. If the work is successful, what remains on the page is a truthful document of the understanding and acceptance of absurd contradictions. If successful, they become depictions of a fragile peace.
As such, a 'Thin Line' ink drawing is determined to be successful if the answers to the following questions are affirmative:
Does it look like a fragile peace?
Does it quack like a fragile peace?