Space 204 and the Vanderbilt University Department of Art is proud to announce the exhibition «MANIFEST» from 2018 Guggenheim Fellow, Kristine Potter.
This exhibition will include additional programming including an artist talk and a book signing for the «Manifest» monogram published by TBW Books.
The Artist Talk and Reception is free and open to the public.
This series of photographs was made in a remote area along Colorado’s western slope between 2012-2015. The pictures describe; an abstractly seen landscape, the mountain men who are its inhabitants, the psychological tenor of living in near isolation, and the unyielding high-desert sun. I sought to question the more persistent tropes of our American Mythology: the rugged cowboy, the dominion of wilderness, and the subjective authorship of those observations from a historically male perspective.
The pictures in this collection add to the longstanding photographic conversation we have had with this symbolic geography. My interest in masculine archetypes led me toward the most iconic in American mythology: The Cowboy. In this dusty region I was able to find many men who employed themselves with this title, but who otherwise did not fit the stereotype. Through slow and careful solicitations, I was able to meet and photograph a number of men who live in relative outlier status to the small community that connected the mesas and ranges of the area. Coal miners, farmers, and off-the-grid homesteaders alike; their fortitude was apparent, as was their vulnerability and fatigue.
My experience of the landscape was that it is arid, disorienting and largely inhospitable. I sought to make photographs that describe the beauty of this perplexity. The pictures are built tightly, often without a horizon. The blazing sun and the natural abstraction of black-and-white, work to heighten a kind of mystifying experience of place. There is no idealized, long view in this story. We are here now, and it’s a difficult situation. If the West is a symbol of America, then these pictures suggest that those ideas and ideals might now be in a moment of reckoning, or at minimum, a moment of confrontation.
My hope for this body of work is that it can be seen as a shift in the lineage of photography, where the imaging of the American West took an intimate turn. Eschewing the vista view for the human scaled interaction with the landscape means that we see the difficulty and beauty of this terrain. The landscape photos in turn lend a psychological space for the portraits, which describe in more nuance, the cowboys and outsiders who occupy this longstanding mythological place.
Date: October 11, 2018
Space 204, Vanderbilt University Department of Art
1204 25th Avenue South, Room 220 and 204
Nashville, TN 37240
3:00PM — Artist Talk
4:00PM to 6:00PM — Reception & Book Signing