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My collage and sculpture work is focused on the intersection of queer and fat identities and in its collision with the idealized gay male body. I use images of the idealized gay male body because these images were my only connection to gay culture while growing up in rural Minnesota. For many years these digitally enhanced and altered images indoctrinated me to which bodies represented the sole image of desirability and led me to believe that my body definitely was not. I have been fat for most of my life. I was fat before I knew I was gay. When I came out, I thought I would be accepted into a community of other gay men, but that was not the case. For all of my adult life, I have struggled to find a place in the gay community. I have been discriminated against by this community because of my weight, both in social and academic settings. Within the community that I thought would accept me, I discovered there was a strict hierarchy based on physical appearance.
Consequently, I use images of flowers for their complex biomorphic shapes and for their symbolic representation of romance, beauty, and desire. In my more recent work where I use images of my own body, I frame my figure with flowers to elevate it and reinstate beauty and worth as a body that has been deemed an undesirable other. I attempt to achieve a parodic play between the stark and painful reality of the ridged gay male beauty standards, using paradoxical tongue-in-cheek humor as a weapon. The paired flowers with the idealized mass media cut-outs of gay male bodies acknowledge and challenge unobtainable standards of gay male body aesthetics, which are specifically marketed to the gay male audience. By challenging this ideal, my work states you do not need six-pack abs in order to belong in gay male culture.

Kyle Bredain is a collage artist based in Minnesota. He received his BFA at Minnesota State University- Mankato, and his MFA at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Bredain uses collage to question his place in gay male culture and the idealized body hierarchy within that culture.

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