Kyle Surges

b. 1989

In 2014 I was asked to be a juror at an exhibition in a local arts center. Kyle had submitted a small painting of a single Hershey's chocolate nestled in its foil wrapper. We awarded him top prize and then I bought darn thing — I couldn't help myself. Fast forward to this, his first solo Chicago gallery show. Surges is that rare bird (nowadays), a young artist who really learned how to paint in school, in his case at the American Academy of Art here in Chicago. His highly skilled approach to oil painting is clearly shown in these selected works.

Kyle finds both beauty and compelling subject matter in bits and pieces of discarded Americana — every day objects whose native elegance is exposed in his meticulous portraits. The artist trolls for these things, often finding them on ebay. For some of us (of a certain age) these pictures are nostalgic. I certainly had my own Red Ryder BB gun and my fist bottle of Old Spice! But these works also transcend the obvious references and become iconic surrogates for our deeply held beliefs of value, quality and craftsmanship — even honesty. Through his efforts, we can recall a time past when these virtues were taken for granted.

To learn more about Kyle visit his website: