Sydney Kaye’s photographs are a beautiful mystery to me. I don’t confess to fully understanding the spontaneous drama, the break-apart abstraction, the tragedy of orbital smash; and to put a concrete name to the elements would be to debauch the artist’s work. I prefer to fall off into narrative drift. Here is the scattering of world-stuff like a fabulous articulation of the atomic theory. There is a cosmic shake and bake, sugar-stitched, like the aftermath of colliding airships against the matte black. If the images could speak we’d receive a burst of ear candy: think of the galactic swirl reenacting the imagined birth of the universe. The dazzle in these works gives me the same feeling of excitement and even floaty joy I’d experienced as I wandered through the various floors of the gamma-happy atmospherics in Pipilloti’s Rist’s Pixel Forest at the New Museum.
There is a saying in politics that I believe can apply equally to art: “When you’re explaining, you’re losing.” Why must every nuance be explained? Why not revel in the mystery? While it can be fun and even mind-bending to tear through the analysis of a scintillating critic, when a work is first encountered, isn’t it best to lose yourself in the details, to fade into the etherworld of the artist’s making, to dream? I believe our featured artist has unrolled her own personal star chart just for our benefit. It is as if Kaye wants us to resort to John Berryman’s famous call in his 13th Dream Song: “Come & diminish me, & map my way.” So forget who you are for a short spell, and dream in her world. And once you are done dreaming, then you can begin to diagram what you’ve seen.
Sydney Kaye is a multimedia artist who is in her third year of the BFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts. Her work often times revolves around themes of mental health and alternative medication. The images featured here are from a series titled Stigma.
Edwin Rivera is the editor of The Match Factory and a Writing Instructor at SVA.