Jul 30, 2012 8:09PM

Interview: Kyle Montgomery

We speak with the Sydney-based artist ahead of his group show opening at MiCK gallery, Paddington.
Photo by Scott Lowe

Kyle Montgomery is one of the artists included in a group show called 'Here We Are' that opens tomorrow night at MiCK gallery in Paddington. The young Sydney-based artist will be in good company, showing new work alongside painter/filmmaker/skater Brett Chan (who recently had an exhibition at China Heights), Oyster contributor Samuel Hodge (who shot this month's Beauty Daily, and is also included in our 100th issue, out this Friday) and a handful of other exciting artists who work across a range of mediums. 

Kyle makes amazingly intricate collages using religious and Egyptian iconography, as well as imagery of the solar system. He'll be showing a series of these collages, however his pièce de résistence is large-scale porcelain Virgin Mary statue, the head of which which he has hollowed out, painted black, and filled with a tiny lights so as to appear like a galaxy, painstakingly wired using toys sourced from a National Geographic store.

We dropped by his studio to talk art and aliens (fun fact: he is also one of the kids we featured in our Nike shoot). 

Ingrid Kesa: What's the theme of the work you'll be showing at MiCK?
Kyle Montgomery: Space, forgotten lands, forgotten practices and utopias. 

Does it make any speculations about the future as well?
Yeah, well, more so about how the past was futurised. Just look at pyramids. 

Where do you source most of your imagery from?
Books from op shops. 

How many books do you own?
More than a thousand. I have to cut lots of them up and throw the guts away because I don't have enough storage.

Were you always making art when you were younger?
Nah, I used to just skate. What else did I do? I made films.

Some of your other works use crystals. It's thought that different crystals have different energies. Do you believe in that stuff or do you just use them as an aesthetic thing?
I like the organic rawness of them, which also comes from — originally — space but I do feel that they have certain qualities. 

So you've never studied electronics. How did you get the circuit board in the Virigin Mary sculpture to work?
That was hard. I went to National Geographic, like, 20 times to get more parts.

Are you going to sell that one?
Hopefully!

There's lots of religious iconography in your work. What significance does this have?
The angels represent alien beings. If it's said in the bible that an angel came down, it was actually an alien. I believe they're beings that are the guardians to the portals of the unknown.

Do you believe in aliens, or do you use them more as a metaphor?
I am definitely a believer. I think other life has been visiting earth forever, and that it still is. I'm not getting visited personally, but I do believe that it's happening. 

How long does it take to make one of the collages?
It has taken my whole life.

Do you make art every day?
Yes. I try to concentrate on it being my job.

Ingrid Kesa

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