In Kyle Jenkins’ new exhibition, Live Free or Succumb, the artist presents images that are powerful and energetic, which contain the poetry of the streets. The artist states that “the title of the show refers to the people who have said ‘no’ to having their creativity/music decisions erode by outside influences, whether through a commercial record label, label management, or radio fascism etc., and, instead, have made the decision to do things their own way, and to set up platforms that allow them to do their own thing by their own rules.”
Jenkins’ work has long been interested in socio-cultural, socio-political investigations. His subject matter encompasses underground culture and the participants within the punk/garage/hardcore music scene - primarily from the perspective of DIY independent record labels and the key individuals within them.
All the works have the title ‘Position Point’, with unique subtitles thereafter. The artist describes Position Point as: “a point of position - opposition to main stream corporate culture.”
The artist is very interested in what may be termed ‘simultaneity’ in his work, whereby various disparate, opposing elements are brought together to form a powerful new visual entity. In this case, photographic imagery coalesces with hard-edge abstraction, which interrupts and occludes parts of the ‘narrative’, bringing enormous energy and drama to the proceedings. The immediacy we experience comes from the fracturing and reduction of information down to its essential elements.
Jenkins’ subject matter is fairly unique in Australian art. His imagery deals with the integrity of individuals who carve their own path through the increasingly corporatised western world. For him the ‘other’ or the ‘underground’ is true culture because “those people involved do so out of a necessity to create and engage with little to no concern of what is popular, fashionable, a good career move, etc. Instead they set up situations, organise activities and create subcultures that are supportive activity to build work from one day to the next.”
Steve Cox, 2017.