The Vision of Joseph Kyle
The period, which led up to Joseph Kyle’s vision of pure abstraction, was an intense 5 years of exploration and experimentation. His rich background in music afforded him a strength of inner discipline when combining through and drawing from the great art movements of the past century.
It was after listening to the Charpentier Mass on Christmas Eve of 1979 that he had a flash of inspired intuition. That evening in his studio was the turning point in his art, and it was during the subsequent weeks that all the elements of a full-fledged vision emerged, which has since culminated in a substantial body of work. I wish now to discuss those elements, which, when used in combination, form the basis of Joseph Kyle’s vision.
First and foremost was his drive towards coherence; coherence in form, structure, shape, idea, colour and movement. Each having a clear intentional relationship to the other, an understanding and ordering of the entire picture plane. Starting with the notion of seeing the picture plane as a whole entity, not in disparate or separate parts, which may or may not bare any relationship to each other. Following coherence comes the need and responsibility of order and of a pure visual idea.
Pure Visual Idea
To see the canvas in its entirety required the need to have a clear visual idea drawn out before hand, usually on paper, without colour. This was an important development because Kyle realized that the idea came from inside and not from an external referent. A close connection to his compositional training in music. The composer must invent his form he does not have a tree or a figure to copy, the form is drawn from and realized from within. This was a natural development for Kyle because much of his life as been spent developing those inward experiences which are powerfully felt but difficult to express. The challenge, therefore, was to discover a way to realize his ideas in a clear, pure, direct way. This was first realized through symmetry and the vertical line.
Symmetry, in its very nature, creates the beauty of form in its balanced proportions. It lends itself to a natural correspondence in size shape and relative position of a dividing line of central axis. It is also a powerful and mysterious tool used and found throughout nature. In combination with only the vertical line, later adding the horizontal, and again later the diagonal, it revealed to Kyle a new and powerful insight, it was the dynamics of SYN-OPTICS.
SYN-OPTICS and coherence go hand in hand because SYN-OPTICS affords an overview of a whole, manifesting or characterized by a comprehensiveness or breadth of view which displays conditions of the painting as they exist simultaneously over the whole canvas; much like listening to a symphony, having all the individual instruments being played in combination creating a perfect unity of harmony and form. Kyle realized that harmony and form were intrinsically linked and it was form, which was needed to fully manifest the colour.
Structure, Colour and Form
His quest is always to create, in such a way, that the painting moves the viewer directly. This is achieved through the relationship between structure and colour, which gives birth to the form. We notice, in spite of the crisp edges, the form has no boundary, it moves across the canvas as a dancer moves across the stage. Form and colour operate as one – a marriage, where neither is subservient to the other but dependent on each other for the essential experience of the painting to reveal itself as distinguished from simply its orderly method of arrangement on the canvas, which is the traditional compositional device. This union establishes a poetic line where the fibers of the canvas illuminate into a richness and purity that seems only possible with the intervention of light, which in its essence is a spiritual quality and which Kyle acknowledges and seeks to manifest.
In their combinations all these elements create a dynamic of delight, with the exhilarating acknowledgement of the beauty and nobility of growth aspiration and life itself. This, perhaps, can be best summed up in Kyle’s own words:
“There is a point where beauty meets truth,
where wisdom meets delight, where heaven
meets earth. It is to this vision of the sublime
that my painting aspires.”