Kyle Holland, “Birds of Prey”

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The book is bound as a full leather drum leaf and the antlers on the front cover are cold tooled. The box is a slipcase that is covered with wood veneer. The images within the book are echoed by the form of the object.

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This spread depicts a seemingly skinless deer running through the forest. The images of deer that appear throughout the book are scanned from taxidermy catalogs and inkjet printed. The trees are pressure printed to create depth in the images and for the noise that is characteristic of the process which reads as fog in the images. Some of the spreads also have trees that are printed from photopolymer plates, such as this one, to give the images more depth.

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The viewer’s perspective sometimes shifts to being the deer looking up through the tree branches. This spread is the first time that a vulture is spotted in the book.

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The text in the book was culled from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The book was partially inspired by my relationship with my father which I relate to Dr. Frankenstein’s relationship with his creation. The text is organized on an axial grid and is printed along the folds of the spreads to be reminiscent of the tree imagery if one imagines the fold as a tree trunk and the bodies of text as branches. Printed from 14 pt. Fabritius lead type, the text is dark purple on the left-hand side of the spreads as the voice of the vultures and yellow ochre on the right-hand side as the voice of the deer.

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This spread depicts the vultures circling around an ornament which represents the eye of my father, embodying the feeling of being looked down upon. The ornament was printed and dusted with gold powdered pigment referencing Frankenstein’s creation speaking of his creator like he is a god.

 

Kyle Holland
Cleveland, Ohio
http://www.kyleaholland.com/

Birds of Prey
2015
Inkjet printing, screenprinting and letterpress printing on handmade paper
6
50
10.5″ x 14.5″ x 0.5″
10.75″ x 7.25″ x 1.25″

Both the history of my relationship with my father and my experience growing up in the South have led me to believe that I must possess a certain set of qualities to be considered a man in the context of masculine subculture. It seems that a man should be risk-taking and effortlessly exhibit strength, pride, confidence and superiority.

I believe that embodying these characteristics is a requisite for living among other men without judgment. However, both my behavior and physical appearance prevent me from blending in among the conventional man. I feel that I am looked upon with disdain by other men who disallow my individuality while simultaneously rejecting my efforts to fit in, rendering my attempt to attain “manliness” as socially forbidden. By referencing the masculine recreation of hunting, I am able to express my feelings of inadequacy towards the Southern male archetype and my desire to be regarded favorably by other men.

I chose to present this system of conflicts in the form of a book. The book format enables the narration of a journey through my psychological landscape, metaphorically represented by the forest. The vulnerable, skinless deer represents myself and is overshadowed by vultures that loom, embodying the feeling of being looked down on by other men. To persevere and complete this journey is to be reborn as a man.