“That Which Strays From the Right, Normal, or Usual Course”
While Kite’s mosaic magic requires a certain amount of sleight of hand, the process of attaining his final image is a fascinating and vital part of his creative act. The results are strangely beautiful images that bring together incongruous elements into startlingly powerful visual statements, like the play on a Wyeth masterwork with Christina Removed for Observation or Suerat with Sunday Afternoon, Looking for the Car. Kite calls his work Aberrant Art, work he defines as “that which strays from the right, normal, or usual course” because behind his likable arrangements and painterly palette lurks a strong artistic statement.
After receiving his B.F.A. in film from UCLA, Chicago-born Kite spent the next five years travelling overseas. Returning to the San Francisco Bay area, he wrote and performed his own style of surreal poetry in local coffee houses. Kite says,”My poetry was like my art is now. Any way to wake [people] up, anything to get their attention.” The exclusive use and alteration of found imagery is a natural extension of found poetry and the basis for what he considers his visual poems.
Kite’s lifelong love affair with words, an unstoppable flow of images and ideas looking for a suitable medium, coalesced into a collage – and collage, more or less, chose Barry Kite – not vice versa. “In your twenties, you absorb experience, just soak it all up. But when you’re in your thirties, you have to be a bit more specific. I’d been trying to be a writer for years, but it wasn’t working. […] I decided to be an artist anyway, integrating the three different media I was working in: photography, painting, and poetry.”