Justin Colt Beckman
January 7 - 30, 2010
5 - 8pm
First Thursday, January 7, 2010
Artist will be in attendance the first and last weekend of the exhibition.
The cowboy way. The lone man and his horse on the open prairie. A man of few words. The iconic cowboy. Is this figure of manly virtue, who is so very important in the American psyche, fading away?
The American cowboy is a complicated creature indeed. By definition, a cowboy is one who tends cattle and performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks; however, the cowboy, and the cowgirl for that matter, has also come to be a symbol of American individualism. A resourceful survivor that spends long days in the saddle and sleeps on the ground, he lives by a strict code of ethics, and if necessary, would die in the name if honor.
In his current body of work, Beckman investigates the cowboy legend and attempts to understand the world's fascination with this predominately white, male symbol. A character that once filled the dreams of every young boy, the role of the cowboy in America's understanding of itself seems less clear than ever. Traditionally more esteemed than the other sub-genres of country-culture, the distinctions between cowboys, rednecks and hillbillies seem to have become increasingly blurred.
The cowboy stereotype has been interpreted in many ways. He is sometimes seen as noble, other times reckless. Though he is often viewed as a defender of those unable to defend themselves, he is occasionally found to be nothing more than a gun slinging outlaw. For some folks, he symbolizes the ideal male. For others, he's a reminder of why they quit smoking, or a symbol of their political disillusionment. For Beckman, the cowboy myth provides a chance to be a kid again. A chance to pretend to be an actor who is pretending to be a cowboy. A chance to sling a gun, or to protect a damsel in distress. And, of course, a chance to rear back on his mighty steed and ride off into the sunset.
Justin Beckman received a BFA from Art Center College of design in 1998 and an MFA in sculpture from Central Washington University in 2008. Since December 2001, Beckman has been living and working in the unincorporated town of Thorp, Washington, and is a founding member of PUNCH Gallery.
Hours: Noon-5pm Thurs-Sat,
or by appointment.
Untitled (Ty Hardin), 2009,
C-print of a digital collage of the artist's face
on found image, 10"x8"
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