Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Melody Time Ranch
My flat, colourful paintings transform found images in order to gently satirise the conservative gender roles and exaggerated machismo found in classic Western iconography. Cowboys huddle closely together at the rodeo and a gunless Lone Ranger is rescued by his side-kick Tonto. In small dioramas, I construct narrative fragments which transform the flatland of comic books into 3D playgrounds where guns point outward at imaginary enemies. Comic strip-style voice bubbles are augmented by longer texts drawn from sources such as Zane Grey's "Amber Mirage" (1929) and Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain" (1998), calling into question the simplistic Romanticism of the genre and suggesting more complex relationships between characters. The title Melody Time Ranch is drawn from the name of Gene Autry's legendary Melody Ranch and Disney's animated classic Melody Time (1948), referencing both the golden age of Westerns and the whimsical, cartoon-like quality of the work. Melody Time Ranch invites a broad audience to explore their own nostalgia for the wild, wild West and to engage with issues of gender and sexuality in a framework designed to inspire open dialogue rater than divisiveness.