Texas Is The Reason
This collaborative project was made during a two month road trip from Pennsylvania to Texas during the Summer of 2017. We went into this trip with our main interest being Texas and its representation to the two of us. We set out, interested in a larger understanding of masculinity, specifically in relationship to a current political climate where the shoot first, ask questions later, mentality has been resurrected. The two of us had never been to Texas prior to this trip. We had only heard the stories of this place and the men who have wandered this western landscape from our older relatives, western films, and literature. We wanted to look for ourselves to see what it meant to us to be a man in America today. The two of us wanted to see, as singular people and as partners, where we fit into this landscape that held so much influence to our understanding and our elders understanding of masculinity, America, and life.
We wanted to escape the surroundings that have been with us from our upbringing through constructing a new reality with these photographs, a subjective environment formed by the two of us, influenced by our surroundings, our memories, and the landscapes embedded histories. We were in search of a new place to call home, a place we had only heard about, a place where we could escape from the tilted watch of our forefathers. What we did not realize is that what we were trying to escape from exists everywhere; albeit in different physical forms and intensities, the psychology of our parents, our hometown, and the man in charge, were there in these new places waiting for us. It was as if we were being guided, softly, through a weird heat dream induced by conflicting feelings; feeling a familiarity yet also feeling alien in these new places. We found ourselves in alternate homes, similar to the stories we have heard.
Ian Kline was born in 1994 in York, Pennsylvania. He received his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017 and currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
David Billet is an artist currently living and working in Baltimore, MD, who works primarily in photography. Billet Received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in the fall of 2017.