Born in 1977, Kristine Potter lives and works in New York City, New York. She holds a MFA from Yale University and a BFA from the University of Georgia. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally – most notably in Paris, New York City, Miami and Atlanta. Her work is in numerous private and public collections, including at Light Work, where she was recently the recipient of their renowned Artist-In-Residence grant. Today we take a look at her series Manifest.
“The American West,” inhabits not just a geographic location, but a set of ideas and core values by which America is defined. Manifest revolves around this mythology – its ideas being both historic and contemporary. The fabled-frontiersman are gun-toting individualists, self-reliant, and morally upright. The landscape is grand, full of promise, and a stage for patriotic satisfaction and escapism. Undeniably, men have been the principal creators of both the legend and the imagery associated with this mythology. They also happen to be the primary actors in this longstanding ideological play. Falling in continuum with her previous work, Potter takes these archetypes and visually unpacks the complexities under the desired illusions.
For three years, Potter had been photographing along the western slope of Colorado in a remote region peppered with coal miners, farmers, ranch hands, off-the-grid homesteaders, and wayward loners who are looking to get lost. Potter produces large format portraits that explore notions of power, pacifistic masculinity, sensuality, co-habitation with the natural environment, and indeed some elements of fringe (or less socialized) mannerisms. In line with her previous work, Potter is keen to flip the historical precedent of the male gaze on its head. The men here willingly expose themselves to her scrutiny.
Eschewing the traditional vista-view of the western landscape, Potter forges us deep into the feral terrain. Using the intensity of the mountain sun with a tighter, more disorienting frame, she presents the beauty and the danger of this environment as nearly indistinguishable and its predicament more immediate. These landscapes mirror her efforts in portraiture, in that she is not satisfied with the standard interpretation – but rather offers a more emotional and psychological take on what is in front of her camera.
Potter primarily photographs with a large format camera. She uses color film and digital capture along with lengthy post-processing to arrive at her distinct, silvery palate. While Potter’s post- production techniques are an integral element of her working practice, it is not immediately recognizable in the print. The digital fine-tuning allows the images to oscillate between fact and fiction; and cements her subjective view of this land that has long been subject to idealism and myth making.”
To view more of Kristine’s work, please visit her website.