A Straight Shooting Artist

Ryan Kitson “No Fillings for a Copper Plate,” 2020, copper plate.

The Arts Center at Duck Creek in East Hampton is currently hosting an off-season, outdoor installation by artist Ryan Kitson. Titled “No Fillings for a Copper Plate,” the installation consists of work created from copper and aluminum sheets that have been shot with bullets jacketed in copper and is a nod to the age-old practice of shooting road signs in this country.

“The gesture of shooting a federal or state sign has the tone of lawlessness that exemplifies the mystique of not only the American West but of the rural landscape in general,” explained Kitson in an artist’s statement. “This part of the country and it’s ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ outlook is generally regarded as brash, unapologetic and lacking in empathy, which is either simply untrue or at the least more complicated than one assumes.

“The point of friction to produce these works is a bullet, which is jacketed in copper. Replicating the dimensions of the sign but changing the material from aluminum to copper — the material of the bullet, suggests the body of the victim and the body of the aggressor is the same,” he added. “Furthermore, removing any copy from the sign erases any indication of intent, paring down the gesture to its most simplistic form. The sensitivity of the material to oxidation shows an exaggerated passing of time which embeds it more firmly within the context of nature and the outdoors.”

Kitson was born in California and raised in Idaho. He moved to New York City to pursue a career in the arts in 2000. Since March 2020, he has since divided his time between teaching undergraduate ceramics at Southern Oregon University, earning his master’s degree at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and ethically hunting throughout the United States.

Recent solo exhibitions include the Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, Oregon in 2019 and Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn in 2018. Kitson is currently in the group exhibition “Grouper” at Pascal Spengemann’s new gallery Broadway in Manhattan.

The show can be seen on the grounds of the Arts Center at Duck Creek, 127 Squaw Road, East Hampton, from dawn to dusk through April 1. For more information, visit duckcreekarts.org.