Kyle Parker Cunningham (American)(b. 1983)
Taos & Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Kyle Parker Cunningham was born in Wyoming, raised in Montana, and now resides with his partner Jeannie Ortiz on the banks of the Rio Grande at the edge of the great expanse of Gila Wilderness in Truth or Consequences, NM. Momentarily tethered to the New Mexico sun but nomads at heart, they garden and make things.
Kyle’s childhood spent wandering the mountains of rural Montana imparted a deep and fundamental love for the wild; he is much more at home in the middle of wilderness than in the middle of civilization. It is impossible for him to escape this influence and it is visible in everything he creates.
The wild’s influence is not limited to the beauty and magic of nature, but also the test of the will undergone when alone and completely self supported in the wild. The mental and physical challenges of wilderness travel delivers the mind to a trancelike state where ideas are cultivated and new connections flourish. Capturing, interpreting and sharing these new ways of thinking is paramount to his artistic output.
Art is that most ancient and universal tool of communication, Kyle embraces it to fulfill that necessary urge to listen, share and tell stories. Art speaks to us from the ages, be it in a Rembrandt painting on a museum wall or chipped lines of a petroglyph in the rock of choice canyon alcoves, we inevitably recognize our own lives. Kyle shares that ancient inexhaustible urge to leave his story in the world and to share his story with other humans so they might understand themselves all the better.
Formative years in rural Montana imparted a unique empathy for other people's beliefs. He has been fortunate enough to both have lived in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s monastery and also have worked cattle with cowboys on vast ranches in Montana.
These disparate experiences have formulated a world view which seeks to cultivate understanding between the rural/urban and liberal/conservative divide our nation is currently experiencing. His practice of exhibiting and creating events in rural areas embraces this ideal by fostering art appreciation to a portion of the public often overlooked by the mainstream art world.
On a singular canvas the world is framed as he sees it today, as it was yesterday, and as it could be tomorrow, merging archaic images with the technologies of the future. Each piece is unique and poignant: paying homage to our pre-history while forcing us to examine how far we have come.
Still life paintings raise the authority of the simple, mundane objects whose presence infuses our being, consciously or not. Dinosaurs with agua-lungs, elephants in space suits, whimsical perhaps, but each has been a part of our history or sits on the arc of the future. In the repetition of the random is found the building blocks of our psyches; each painting is real and resonates with familiarity. He reminds us that though the day is long we are each but a piece of this being known as existence: complex and sublime.
Online project for fostering communities into robust and supporting audiences. Using a membership “sustaining member” model of crowdfunding to provide sustained funding for experimental art. We treat ourselves as the social media platform.
Nature Cargo Cult - Oil Painting
A body of paintings set in a speculative future where nature has realized the technology of mankind using the detritus of human civilization to afford survival in a post climate changed world. This project will be exhibited and also printed in book form.
Tomorrow - Site Specific Installation - Las Cruces, New Mexico
256 paintings on found and repurposed materials. Tomorrow examined time, memory and the way our perceptions change as we age.
MeTeORiC - Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Co-Creator of the MeTeORiC festival in TorC. The festival invites artists of all types to share works other more traditional festivals overlook. We brought 30 artists from around the world to TorC to share film and art and foster conversations between urban and rural individuals.
Life Studies - Oil and Watercolor Paintings.
Painting from life, portraiture, figurative and landscapes. Kyle’s technical mastery of painting combined with careful and patient observation of life creates paintings which appear “more real than real life”.
Cyclum Lunarem - Oil on 24kt Gold Leaf on Panel
Lunar investigations: in depth study of the Earth’s oldest timepiece. Multiple works created representing the phases of the moon, including oil paintings of all 96 moons of the summer of 2016.
2013 - Present
Ephemera - Intaglio Drypoint Printmaking
Examination of the glitches experienced in day to day reality. Select prints are hand colored or printed with chine-collé. Current series numbers in the 100’s of unique prints.
Desert Archaic - Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Art gallery and performance space created by Jeannie and Kyle as a tool to bring art to the rural community of TorC. The space started as an art gallery but quickly morphed into a tool for community building through art appreciation. Desert Archaic is credited as a catalyst for many individuals in making the decision to uproot their lives and move to TorC.
Raindances - Oil Painting
A group of 67 oil paintings dealing with water or lack thereof in the desert. Exhibited extensively and published in book form late 2018.
Elephant Nest - Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Rehabilitation of a tiny 100 year old house and outbuildings creating a unique and magical living space and extensive artist studios. Elephant Nest will be turned into an artist residency in the coming years so that it can be enjoyed as a living sculpture.
Homemade Spaceship - The American West
Kyle built a teardrop trailer with his partner Jeannie and lived for an entire year in the American West creating art and being part of nature.
Grand Enchantment Trail - Arizona & New Mexico, USA
Self supported hike of the Grand Enchantment Trail. This route is still considered to be one of the hardest long hikes in the world because of the poor trail (often orienteering overland), difficult water sources and general thorny desert ruggedness.
Volunteer at Namgyal Monastery - Dharamshala, India
Namgyal Monastery is the personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At Namgyal Kyle trained both Tibetan monks to film, edit and distribute recordings of the teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He created an operational workflow for the archive of these recordings so future generations of Tibetans may learn from them.
Montana State University
Student of Photography and Philosophy Participated in shows and goings on typical of a undergrad student Cemented in my work the desire to work in long series, especially to create “art” books. Freelance graphic design and illustration work. Unix geek (Solaris, Irix, OpenBSD & Linux).
Childhood and early adolescence - Montana
Kyle produced art through his whole childhood, even winning a state wide competition in 3rd grade creating a poster for Montana State Parks. He was introduced to film via the VidKids 4H program in middle school and worked on numerous film projects throughout the state. He attained Eagle Scout rank and has continued to this day to be committed to service to the community.
He learned how to be adept at wilderness travel which in turn spurned a true love and admiration for the wild. His being was infused with an extreme reverence for the natural world.