(But We Don't Talk About That)
This body of work was shown in the fall of 2012, as part of my Pre-Candidacy Review while pursuing my MFA at the University of Montana.
This body of work attempts to re-contextualize the myths and misconceptions associated with life in the American West. The figures, symbols and the land itself are perhaps the most iconic elements within American culture, so iconic in fact that they have ventured into the realm of cliché. The virtues and sensibilities that our country holds in the highest regard are essentially plots and character traits of the Western genre of film and literature. I play off of these clichés and historical inaccuracies in my work, demystifying the valiant conceptions of the American West and ultimately American culture, reconstructing the myth as a violent, degenerate and bleak narrative built not on heroism and possibility but on guilt and isolation.
In much of my work the only visual information present is a small amount of text. My reasoning for this can be most easily explained by a quote from Fluxus artist Henry Flynt: “Language is material.” My decision to use a limited palette and little visual information on my surfaces allows the work to hang in balance between the verbal and the visual, letting the narrative occupy the vastness of the abstracted landscapes and scenes I am creating. The work can be read as a representation of the void that is the historical and contemporary American West, both in landscape and culture and the terror that this intense isolation can bring about.