October 15, 2013
Lisa Kokin solo exhibition at the Boise Art Museum
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In 2008 I found boxes of pulp cowboy novels at the local recycling center. Although I wasn’t drawn to the imagery, the sheer quantity of the books was enough to entice me to take them back to the studio. After awhile I started to like the imagery, in a campy sort of way. The machismo and violence were so overt and over the top that they begged to be rearranged and recontextualized. And so it happened, just at the end of the Bush Administration, when the cowboy mentality was, I hoped, soon to be left in the dust. How wrong I was and so I continue to use the cowboy novels to comment on guns and the violence that is prevalent in our culture.

Some of the pieces incorporate the covers and spines of the books made into horticultural forms, organic and life-affirming. The Anti-Massacre series are stitched interventions into found textiles, another paradoxical juxtaposition of “women’s work” and the violence and lawlessness of the books from which the imagery is drawn. The Lace Cowboy series presents the cowboys in abstracted form constructed of lace and other found textiles. Rendered frilly and ephemeral, they are mere shadows of their former intimidating selves.

Lisa Kokin

Pictured: Beginnings and Endings
Cowboy book pages, thread, beeswax, wire, mull, cotton batting
69 x 26 x 12 inches
2013

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