June 28 – July 8 2022
Remember the strange and silly phenomenon back in grade school—when you would say any word over and over and over until it had completely lost its meaning?
The painter Kyle Orlando does something painterly analogous with “cheetah.” Over the past two years, he’s produced so many paintings of the speedy yellow feline that it has become less a tawny African predator than a spotted handlike abstraction reaching for any edge of the canvas.
“All the big cats are beautiful—lions, leopards, tigers,” says Orlando. “But the cheetah appealed to me because it’s so different and mysterious. It is sui generis—literally the only animal in its genus. It’s not just the speed. It’s much lighter and leaner, and it’s a very solitary animal—and I am too.”
A New Jersey native, Orlando grew up with no concept of contemporary art being a world for someone like him. He never went to museums; he dreamt of being a champion skateboarder. The first gallery show he saw that opened his imagination to what painting could mean was the 2013 Basquiat exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York. He subsequently schooled himself with artists like Julian Schnabel, Francis Bacon, Keith Haring and others who could execute a canvas with a signature look, yet with minimum of effort or gesture.
Now he has joined the ranks of this genre itself. The cheetah paintings began through scrutiny of National Geographic photos to understand the cat and its lightning force, but before long he was creating images suggestive of all kinds of things—graffiti-artist urchins, spotted poison-dart frogs, the DC supervillainess Cheetah and so many. And in his new show, Kylz Katz come in all kind of colors that Mother Nature never dreamt of—but Krylon sure did.
– David Colman
Kyle Orlando was born in Clifton, New Jersey, in 1989.
Orlando's recent solo and group exhibitions include "Late Night Rental Hours" at Lorin Gallery in Los Angeles, California (2022); "THE BIG SHOW" at My Pet Ram in New York, New York (2021); "Lost The Plot" at The Art Kollective in collaboration with Tchotchke Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2021); "Green Exhibition" at FNG-Art at National Taiwan Arts Education Center for Taiwan Art Taipei in Taipei, Taiwan (2021); "Always Nervous" at Deep Space Gallery in Jersey City, New Jersey (2020); "The Gigantic Miniature Show" at Deep Space Gallery in Jersey City, New Jersey (2020); "Subworld Rising ('you, me and all that stuff we're so scared of')" at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey (2019); and "Nine Lives" at Deep Space Gallery in Jersey City, New Jersey (2019).
Kyle Orlando lives and works in Jersey City, New Jersey.