Avoiding Signal Prohibited: The Work of Lyle Carbajal in Context
--David Francis, PhD
The End of Art and the Heterogeneous Mind: Lyle Carbajal’s “Romancing Banality”
Lyle Carbajal’s work, for all its intriguing ideas and associations—qualities which, among others, make it consistently engaging—may be fundamentally (if inadvertently) concerned with the status of beauty in contemporary art. Indeed, his type of art—visually raw, polymorphous, drenched in ideas and information, especially autobiographical minutiae—seems to question the need for beauty, even its validity as an element of art.
Aside from the paintings and the occasional added panel construction, it’s exciting to see the next big step as represented by Romancing Banality, the entire environment for the paintings, the installation and multimedia components, the engagement with a variety of senses. It makes me realize that unless you’re standing in detritus, wading through garbage, fully immersed, you’re not really seeing the work in its best light so to speak. You’re seeing it conventionally, passively, studying its collage aspects or its portraiture, its muscular effort to grasp the ineffable – but not engaging it on its own terms, not quite stepping into the world that the paintings create, the folk imagination, the oral tradition of tricksters.
The overarching goal of Carbajal’s work is to share his experience of the small mysteries that he has discovered in his travels and studies through his imagery. By insisting that his art refer to fundamental human experiences and emotions and by creating art without artifice, he has created a compelling body of work that engages its viewers with surprising candor and force.
"Lyle Carbajal: Art Without Artifice"
"Layered Perspectives, Lyle Carbajal's Multi-Media installation Broaches
the Profound through the Mundane"
Excerpt from The Afro-Hispanic Review. A multi-lingual peer-reviewd journal of
Afro-Hispanic literature and culture. Printed by Vanderbilt University Press - Nashville TN
-- Sara Lee Burd; Prof. William Luis
Lyle Carbajal collects and extracts images and ideas from everyday life to create art that acknowledges the ever-present anthropological patterns that traverse history and place, while also playing with the post-modern lesson that signs and signifiers have fluid meanings. Many of his works feature unique human figures created by combining mass-produced materials such as paint, wood, metal, balloons, and printed paper that elicit connotations of the commodification of culture and of individuals.
Lyle Carbajal addresses race, disparity, and identity politics because he himself is of Hispanic descent living in a predominantly white culture. His art is not overtly confrontational, rather the artist simply invites the viewer to see what he sees, which in and of itself can be quite a stretch depending on the viewer’s experience with the artist’s cultural references. Using free form and primitive style allows the artist to evoke the immediacy of everyday life while also presenting the complex perspective of an “other.”
While tightly tied to biography, Carbajal clearly communicates universal concepts and inspires the viewer’s mind and eye.