This new photographic series of works by Janine Gordon investigates the parallels of politics, cowboys and Rodeos. The photos are printed in shades of sepias and contrasting punchy pop colors which oscillate between the contemporary and the aesthetic of a vintage photograph.
From bull riders and cattle herders in Davie, Florida to Marfa, Texas, Gordon ventures to capture the romantic notion of a free spirit in the last frontier of the Wild West. Continuing the exploration of male aggression and machismo energy in vernacular subcultures indigenous to American society, the ranchers and open Texan skies resonate as iconic Old Americana.
The symbol of Wall Street is the bull and ironically the title of “No Bull” during the present bailout crisis was coincidentally conceived in late July. With titles such as “Post the Pony” , meaning “Pay up” in cowboy lingo, and puns like “Hang it Up” ( give it up) or “Bull Run,” referring to the a bull Market, the sardonic undertones are threaded in the lining of the context and the bilateral realism of a rebellious cowboy life. In some of the frames from “Cowboy Country”, art from Ilya Kabakov and Roy Lichtenstein on the grounds of the Chinati Foundation are juxtaposed amongst cowboy relics and vignettes of a nearby Marfa ranch. Donald Judd and the Dia Art Foundation created the permanent exhibition of Judd and, in homage to his stacked shelves and the unsolved mystery, is a piece entitled “Marfa Lights” a multi colored panorama polyptych of cowboys steering cattle. With a sublime narrative endgame, the monochromatic photos in a post-Bauhaus formalistic grid, echo the dichotomy of the real word verses the constructed. References to George Orwell’s book, “Animal Farm” from 1945 is a sardonically titled grid of animated animals.