Kai Bryan is a multi-media artist, circus and drag performer based in St. John’s, Ktaqmkuk (colonially known as Newfoundland). Their practice includes performance, video, installation, sculpture and textiles. Kai’s work wants to seduce you; sumptuous textures, cinematic lighting, and exposed flesh beckon the viewer to project desire so that it can be disrupted. Repetition and rhythm in form, gesture, and material help them to unpack social coding and navigate embodied tension. Film, pop culture, craft and fashion history and contemporary decal-based aesthetics bubble up in Kai’s work, with a healthy dose of dada-esque absurdism. Kai works independently and in various collaborative partnerships.
Kai’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, screening series, and festivals including: The Retroflex Queer Cabaret, curated by Jason Wells, Eastern Edge Gallery, NL (2019), Full Tilt performance series, curated by Matthew Hill, The Rooms, NL (2019), Nervous whether, The Rooms (St. John’s) and Grenfell Art Gallery (Corner Brook), NL (2016-17); SOFT, curated by Coral Short, Berlin, Germany (2017); HOLD FAST Contemporary Art Festival, with Pepa Chan, St. John’s, NL (2016); Wild, Pure Aesthetic Wonder, Craft Council Gallery, St. John’s, NL (2015); MIXCopenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (2015), MixNYC, Brooklyn, New York (2014); Wade In, curated by Jason Penney/Mary MacDonald and Zach Pearl, Toronto and St.John’s, ON/NL (2014-15).
Kai was a founding member of Tongue & Groove Collective (Toronto) who from 2009 - 2013 created interactive installation and community-based projects from reclaimed materials in exhibitions and public art events including: Gift Shop Gift Shop, curated by Pascal Paquette and Sean Martindale at the Art Gallery of Ontario (2012); Fix-em-up Free Market, Whippersnapper Gallery, Toronto, ON (2011); and Odds & Entries, XPace Gallery, Toronto, ON (2010). Kail received their BFA with Honours from York University (2010), and is the recipient of the VANL-CARFAC Emerging Artist of the Year Award (2014), the Louis Odette Award for Sculpture, and the EJ Lightman Sculpture Award. Their projects have been supported by The City of St. John's, ArtsNL, and the Canada Council for the Arts.