Consumerist culture is filled with superfluous objects, many of which are passed the point of use. For Lyle Reimer, aka Lyle XOX, these discarded objects are more than their materials—they are filled with artistic possibility.
The Vancouver-based artist, currently exhibiting at Gallery Jones, has developed a practice that combines his experience in art, fashion, design and make-up artistry to create striking images using his own body as canvas and plinth.
Surrounding himself with found objects, Lyle XOX creates facial sculptures and adornments to design fictional characters that defy gender, cultural and beauty norms. Each portrait presented is the result of shooting 100s of photographs, offering a study in contrast and fantasy, with humour and irony woven throughout.
The work of Lyle XOX immediately resonates in our social media-soaked society, which prioritizes the connection between images of one’s face with social identity.
His photographs challenge notions of masculinity and femininity, embracing a spirit of duality and joie de vivre. At the same time, the bold gaze of his characters directly confronts viewers with objects relating to their own carbon footprint—the detritus of capitalism. Through a surrealist lens, the objects and their inherent histories provoke thought around the relationship between mundane things, high fashion, luxury, and consumerism.
“I feel as soon as the wig cap goes on, it is the start of a transformation. Because at the end of it, you look in the mirror and you don’t see you see a living sculpture.”
Small Town Boy to Gallery Wunderkind
After growing up in the small town of Wymark (less than 200 people) in rural Saskatchewan, Lyle relocated to Vancouver, BC, attended Blanche MacDonald Centre for Applied Design, and worked for MAC Cosmetics for over 15-years. Once Lyle decided to focus solely on his artistic practice, his career skyrocketed. “All of this that is happening is so fantastic and so amazing but if you don’t have really amazing people in your life to share that excitement with, then it really doesn’t feel the same.”
The World Discovers LYLE XOX
In 2019, he was named one of the Vogue World 100 (the top 100 people selected by Vogue Magazine for pushing boundaries of art, beauty and style), released his book ‘Lyle XOX: Head of Design’ published by Rizzoli in New York, and was hosted by both the Dutch fashion house Viktor & Rolf and Cirque du Soleil to witness his process. CBC then released a full-length documentary ‘Random is my Favourite Colour,’ and three months later his book won an International Photography Award. Lyle XOX has been featured in numerous international publications including Artnet, Vogue Italia, Surface, V, New York Times, L’Officiel, DAZED, and many others. He has given artist talks in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Mexico City, Taiwan, and Amsterdam.
In addition, Lyle XOX collaborated with renowned musician and performer FKA Twigs, and has worked with luxury brands Moschino, Gucci, Comme des Garcons, and Maison Margiela. “I am well aware that I have taken a different path in life always and I am more than happy to live that life because it is the way it has to be…yeah, it’s the way it has to be.” The I. THEY. MINE. YOURS.… exhibition is currently at Gallery Jones Fine Art.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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